NextFab expansion taking longer than expected

The Philly-based makerspace is still trying to gauge the market in Wilmington. “We’re targeting to be open before the end of the year,” said founder Evan Malone.

Inside one of the Philadelphia NextFab facilities.

(Photo by Yulia Novozhilova)

NextFab’s expansion to Wilmington is taking a little longer than Delaware makers had hoped.
NextFab founder Evan Malone said the makerspace is still collecting survey data to learn how to best serve the creative population of Wilmington. A specific location has not yet been identified but he expressed an interest in remaining within the Creative District downtown.
“We did a survey of interested parties about a year ago and we’ll be refreshing that information really soon,” Malone explained in a phone interview. “We’ll probably end up offering resources for the same categories [as in Philadelphia]. Office space and coworking space, we may also offer some more specialized technologies depending on what we find in our updated survey.”
We reported last December that the expansion, which is receiving a $350,000 grant from the state, was announced to open in the first half 2016. By January of this year, NextFab’s Alex Kaplan said fall was more realistic.
“It will definitely be this year, we’re targeting to be open before the end of the year,” Malone stressed. “But that’s all we can say for now.”
Malone says there have been talks with universities in the area but no formal plans have been made yet.
“We would like to serve the entrepreneurial community in Wilmington that seems to be growing very quickly,” said Malone. “Educating and empowering and opening up creative possibilities and new career options, I would say that’s something we confidently would like to be a part of.”
A couple of years ago, NextFab was invited to Wilmington by Carrie Gray of the Wilmington Renaissance Corporation. Malone was tapped for a guest speaker appearance at the economic development group’s monthly speaker series that aimed to find solutions for developing the downtown Wilmington Creative District.
With the recent changes at DowDuPont, Malone sees a lot of potential in providing services to spin-off companies specializing in the material and chemical sciences.
The core tools of the shop will include laser cutting, 3D printing, wood cutting, metal machining, software for electronics design and more, Malone said.


Companies: NextFab
People: Evan Malone
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