It all started with a balanced breakfast. A small group met at Blue Plate Cafe around 7:00am one Saturday. There, an idea emerged. What if there were a place where people could go to prototype and create their ideas?
The vision was born, but I had no idea where to put it. One of the guys at the table motioned to a "for lease" sign across the street. The building looked too small from the front, but I got in touch with the leasing agent anyway. After one tour I was sold. A few friends came with me the second time as bouncing-boards, and it was a hit. Four months later, we had a lease, and five months later I opened the door for the first time.
Back then, the building was filthy. It was an old printing business (not Minute Man Press) that had been abandoned when the owner died around 2015. We had a lot of work to do. I got a few family and friends together and we painted, fixed, and repaired much of the building in about two months. We were actually still fixing things when we opened the carpentry shop to the first few members.
In late February of 2021, we opened the shops to the public, and started hosting events. I had no idea what I had gotten myself into. Within two months we had outgrown our tools, the groups we were hosting had taken-up nearly the entire space with projects, and I was thoroughly overwhelmed.
After pulling on the reins a little, I found a sweet spot and a mission to answer the question we had asked at that Blue Plate table.
The mission of Sanctuary is first and foremost to create opportunities for the Huntsville community to learn, grow, and express creative ideas through hands-on projects.
Now, we're a year in and can say that we've changed peoples lives. Some have even said it gives them the will to live again, and that's something I never thought I would hear. The future holds so much opportunity here at Sanctuary HSV.
And to this day, you can always find us at Blue Plate Cafe, 7:00am on Saturday mornings. Who knows, maybe you'll have your next great idea there too.