Happy April! It is always so nice to welcome Spring with the promise of warmer weather and the earth coming alive again. This year, the tenants are forming a committee to oversee the plantings so we are looking forward to the blossoming of beautiful gardens full of color!
Lots going on these days as you’ll see from our news below. The good and bad news is that we are now 100% occupied with the existing upstairs studio spaces (good for us but bad for those looking for a studio space in the building). That being said, we still have large retail spaces for rent. We’re looking for someone to establish an indoor farmers market in the building featuring ‘local craft and food items’. Other tenants we would love to find are a distillery or brewery and a ‘farm to table’ restaurateur. So, please spread the word!!
– Mark and Susie Winkelman
In Focus: Bicycle Recycle
Two of our very favorite people at the Factory are David and Louisa Stone who run the Bicycle Recycle Shop as part of Factory Works, our non-profit arts organization. They both have a passion for bike riding AND a passion for ‘doing good’. Their commitment to recycle bikes does just that as they promote healthy transportation using recycled materials while also providing bike maintenance skills to those interested in learning. David and Louisa also work hard behind the scenes with local politicians to make Williamsport a bike friendly town. Time to get your bike tuned-up- or check out their shop for a new (used) bike - as snow melts and Spring weather is upon us!
Anniversaries are a time to celebrate and we have two exciting milestones to celebrate this year at the Pajama Factory.
First, it’s our 10th anniversary of owning the building. We bought the building 10 years ago in June trying to look beyond the vast empty pigeon filled spaces to imagine ‘what could be’. We survived the financial crisis right after our purchase by finding ways to fund our ‘incremental growth’ and this has made us stronger. We now have 108 tenants and continue to expand and build out spaces. While we still have much to do, we are thankful to everyone who has been a part of our growth to-date.
Second, the Pajama Factory itself is celebrating the 100 year anniversary of the construction of the Keds Sneaker Plant- the original occupant of the building before it became a pajama factory.
We’ll be kicking off celebrations with this year’s SpringFest on May 6 so hope to see you there!
This Earth Day has focused us on the importance of living ‘green’ and we have started to implement programs here at the building. To save energy and reduce our carbon footprint, we are going through a program of replacing old light bulbs, and when necessary fixtures, with LED technology. The new LED lighting has been installed in all five stair towers - a total of 45 fixtures. We also installed light sensors that shut off the lights during daylight hours. Electric use has been cut by 95%! We are now asking all new tenants to commit to using LEDs or fluorescent lighting in their studios. Additionally, the ongoing task of fixing windows to be more energy efficient continues. And we are reinvigorating and expanding our building recycling program.
On another front, we are beginning to deploy our free neighborhood wi-fi. This initiative began when we noticed that many neighborhood kids come to our courtyard to use our free wi-fi. We were reminded of a need many of our neighbors might have for internet access. With this in mind, as part of a first step in establishing a ‘Makers’ District’, we have put an array of antennas on the roof to extend our wi-fi access into the local community. There will be more to come on the “Makers’ District” in future newsletters.
With so many local artists in our midst, we've long felt that outside visiting artists can provide additional stimulation for both our artists and the community at large. As such, we have hosted a summer Artist-in-Residence program for some years now. We were thrilled to expand on this with the successful art talk and gallery exhibition by visiting artist Charlie Yoder during our February First Friday. A huge thanks to Lycoming Engines and the Chamber of Commerce for sponsoring his visit.
We plan to continue these sponsored events and our next visiting artist will be David PB Stephens, an actor from Providence/Martha’s Vineyard/California/Philly. David will be performing a one man show - “The Devil and Daniel Webster” - during our upcoming SpringFest on May 6th.
O Spring-time sweet!
The whole Earth smiles, thy coming to greet.
– Mark and Susie Winkelman