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Is this economic development?

Ideas from the Road

I met this group of old guys in Akron, Iowa. They have coffee every morning between 6 am and 9 am. The mayor thought I would like their story. The coffee wasn’t bad either.

They call themselves the Old Geezers Club. Several of the fellows brought their woodworking tools to outfit a shared workshop in a basement of an old elementary school. It is dry year round, and has plenty of room. They thought it would be a great thing to teach people how to use them.

Except no one took them up on their offer. I asked them who they told, and they said no one. They assumed word would get out and the people would be clambering at their door.

I came up with some ideas for them. They could hold special events and workshops to reach more young people who want to learn how to use tools. They could visit the high school and talk to the shop classes. They could ask the newspaper to write a story about them. Or at least what they are offering the community. They could build things, sell them at yard sales or the town wide events. Then pass out flyers inviting people to come.

Now the Old Geezers Club may not sound like an economic development project, but it’s full of potential. Teaching more people how to use tools is a smart way to generate more future maker businesses.

Could we do that in Webster City? You betcha.

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