After spending 11 years downtown, Kids Making It Woodworking Program is moving to a new space at 617 Castle St.
At just under 5,000 square feet, the new building is about 40 percent larger than the group’s current location on Water Street, and program director Jimmy Pierce says that is not the only benefit of the new space.
“Our ultimate goal is to be as sustainable as possible, and this gives us a chance to cut our occupancy cost,” Pierce said. “Now we are not putting our money toward rent, but rather to a building we own.”
The Castle Street building, which housed consignment store The Eclectic Etc., is currently undergoing renovations, and Kids Making It officials said they hoped the space would be move-in ready at the end of August or September.
The Eclectic Etc., which had been renting the space, moved to 831 S. Kerr Ave after the building went into foreclosure, store representatives said.
Kids Making It closed on its new building in June, Pierce said, adding that the purchase price was $200,000.
“We have some renovations to do, and we are hoping they will be done in the next month or two,” Pierce said. “It’s basically a big open space, so we have to build some walls and replace the heating and air units.”
Kids Making It is a nonprofit that teaches woodworking and vocational skills to at-risk youth. Along with a woodworking shop, the Water Street location also features a storefront that allows the participating kids and teens to sell their products and keep their profits.
Pierce credited a number of organizations in the Wilmington community for helping make the move possible.
He said First Bank, which owned the foreclosed building, helped the nonprofit throughout the purchase proceedings and also provided financial support.
Pierce also acknowledged the Cape Fear Memorial Foundation, PPD Inc., the Bruce Barclay Cameron Foundation Inc. and Bob Warwick, a manager at McGladrey LLP, for their support in the moving process.
Pierce acknowledged the move as a big undertaking for the nonprofit, but he also noted the many benefits the move would bring the woodworking program.
“In some ways, the new building will make it easier for our kids to get to us,” he said. “We now have side parking lot and a bike rack out front. And it’s clearly an up-and-coming area, and we are excited to be a part of it.”