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Spending a Sunday at Harrisburg MakeSpace

We just got back in the office from a morning spent helping out at Harrisburg MakeSpace.  In case you haven’t already heard, Harrisburg MakeSpace is a communal artistic incubator, designed to help local artists get up and running.  It’s located at 1916 North Third St in the Old Uptown neighborhood of Harrisburg, in an otherwise nondescript rowhome a block away from Little Amps Coffee Roasters.

This morning, two of our senior staff members spent a few hours sweeping floors, cleaning walls, and doing general this-and-that for the facility.  The concept is great:  give local artists a solid foundation and affordable space to help them hone their craft and work in collaborative peace.  We got a great guided tour of the property, including some awesome ideas for upgrades (copper foyer, anyone?) and a little bit of the backstory behind the building.  Others came and went throughout the morning, each helping however they could.

Less than a century ago, Harrisburg boasted a population more than double what it is today.  We were actually on track to become a major financial hub of the northeast US.  But like so many of its counterparts across the country, Harrisburg was decimated by the urban flight of the mid-20th century.  As residents fled cities by the thousands, demand for commercial and cultural outlets plummeted.  The result was the Harrisburg of the 1960s through the 1990s.

But over the past 10 – 15 years, Harrisburg has been fighting its way back from the grave.  Downtown has become a booming nightlife & entertainment district, with massive throngs of people packing the sidewalks every weekend.  Midtown has emerged as the city’s cultural district, where downtown’s ultralounges and nightclubs are replaced by coffee houses and boutique retail shops.  Old Uptown has recently started trending upward as the city’s “cool kids” neighborhood, thanks in large part to an abundant supply of affordable housing along tree-lined streets (and having Little Amps in the mix definitely helps!).  2012 has seen major commercial development across the city, from the rebuilt Seventh Street corridor to the reclamation of long-vacant and derelict buildings.

There’s little doubt that Harrisburg has some serious upward momentum.  But in order to sustain this growth, we need to ensure the city’s peripheral needs are being met.  Cultural outlets like MakeSpace, Little Amps, Midtown Scholar, and the Broad Street Market — to name only a tiny few — help draw in a younger, professional crowd.  More and more 20- and 30-somethings are rejecting suburban life in favor of the walkable,vibrant, urban lifestyle, and Harrisburg is in the perfect position to present exactly that.  So when we first learned of MakeSpace, we immediately knew we had to help.  We may not have an artistic bone in our collective body, but we can sweep.  We can clean.  We can paint.  We can spread the word.

And we can bring coffee.

That — at least to us — is what being a local, Harrisburg web host is all about.  We don’t just work here; we also live and play here.  We invest most of our profits back into the local community, be it staff coffee from Little Amps, lunch from Lancaster’s Central Market, books from Midtown Scholar, or company outings at Appalachian Brewing Company.  We volunteer at and sponsor community happenings, like MakeSpace, BarCamp Harrisburg, and the Historic Harrisburg Association.  When you buy web hosting from us, you’re helping us invest time and money back into Central PA.  You aren’t lining the pockets of a multi-billion-dollar web hosting goliath; you’re funding a local, independently-owned, full-service web hosting company that gives back to the community.

If you’ve got a local non-profit that needs hosting, sponsorship, or volunteer time, do get in touch with us.  We offer deeply discounted web hosting, servers, and domain names to qualifying NPOs and community organizations.  We can also send staff to help out and even fund sponsorships and giveaways.  Even if you aren’t hosting with us, we’d love to help out however we can.

We’re Fresh Roasted Hosting, and this is what we do.

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