Community workshop opens in West Texas

10_news_deskIn a rural setting such as West Texas, rented shop space is a hard sell. Almost everyone has a table saw and drill press in their garage for their woodworking tasks. Nevertheless, Amarillo natives Danny and son Josh Davis are banking on their family heritage to draw clients to their new community workshop in town that is simply called The Shop.

The two opened the 6,000-sq.-ft. facility in August hoping to lure locals of all levels of expertise with its modern equipment and program offerings. Nicknamed the ‘Woodworker’s Paradise,’ it is open every day of the week, giving members continual access to not only tools, but experienced professionals.

Taking on the role of shop manager, Josh Davis says his family’s longstanding reputation will be the underlying root of the business’s success. His grandfather started a building trades program at Caprock High School in the 1960s and worked there for 30 years before retiring. Danny Davis then filled his father’s shoes.

“Last year my dad was getting to the point where he was thinking about retiring, but was concerned about how he wouldn’t have a shop anymore after that,” Josh Davis says. “That started the idea of creating a space for people who are like my dad who do woodworking but aren’t going to have a shop space. Now our members can join and have all of the tools that they’d ever want and space so that they can come and build whatever they would like to build.”

With a stroke of luck, the two found a suitable building through a friend who owned a cabinet shop that he had left sitting vacant for two years.

“He had just about every tool we needed. He cut us an amazing deal so we’re leasing the space and some of the tools. We purchased a table saw and some other items to better fit our needs.”

Josh Davis says membership options are modeled after Philadelphia Woodworks, another community shop that opened earlier this year. The four different membership options include a yearly membership for $120 per month; a three-month membership for $160 per month; a monthly membership for $200 per month; or a 10-hour program that members can use for $200 in a six-month time period.

Membership is open to all skill levels and everyone is required to take a safety class. Clients range from professionals to retired woodworkers who just want to keep their hobby going. Josh Davis says that with hundreds of members in and out of the doors in the first year, the venture has turned out to be promising. The bimonthly woodworking classes taught by his father have been a solid draw.

“Part of what’s our bid sell is my dad’s experience, so we’re trying to set the brand up behind him. He teaches all of the classes and I’m there to help. There are quite a few woodworkers around here. There are a lot of businessmen down here that run a bank and then on the side they like to do woodworking. Others do it for a living. It’s split right down the middle.”

Contact: The Shop, 500 S.W. 7th, Amarillo, TX 79101. Tel: 806-373-5950. www.theshopamarillo.com

This article originally appeared in the December 2012 issue.

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