Incuba8LABS in Midland offers space for makers

Incuba8LABS, in downtown Midland, will make its debut in November or December, flinging its doors open to the public with much more than desks, conference rooms and office equipment for members and guests to rent daily, weekly, monthly or annually. 
Now, don't fret--there's some of that.
But how many shared work spaces offer a place specifically for film processing? 
Incuba8's "darkLAB" is stocked with chemicals and equipment for up-and-coming shutterbugs or seasoned pros needing a place to develop their creations. And how many have a separate "lightLAB" photography studio?
Not many, according to Katryn Shick, who co-owns Incuba8LABS with her sister, Caryn Shick.
"This is really exciting," Katryn says. "We've worked hard to create the right kind of culture for the people who will be working in our labs."
Actually, she dubs them "makers."
Seven labs will serve all sorts of emerging and established makers, including graphic designers, architects, engineers, and creators of other categories, including those interested in, or established in, the textile field. Pretty cool, huh?
"We have industrial sewing equipment in the "fiberLAB" and a 3-D printer in the "protoLAB" [for prototyping and 3-D printing]," she says. "These are high-quality machines that most people do not own."
The "soundLAB" recording studio seems destined to become a musician's dream, as is the "printLAB" for makers who need screen printing equipment at their artistic fingertips.
The 1,200-square foot facility will accommodate up to 39 people at once. 
But, yes. Stop the press--because, as you've guessed--there's more in store for Incuba8LABS.
"We're planning to add an 1,800-square-foot second phase as soon as we can," Katryn says, of the plans to be able to lure creatives in different industries with seven more labs.
When that time comes, metal and woodworking specialists and hobbyists will be able to use sophisticated tools like plasma cutters, laser cutters, table saws and sanders, drill presses and more in the "metalLAB" and "woodLAB" in phase two.
Chemists, ceramicists and potters will get the same treatment between the "chemLAB" and "ceramicsLAB" that the owners also are already planning. 
"This place is my sister's brainchild. She knew that there are lots of technical people in Midland because of Dow Chemical [Company] and other smaller businesses around here," Katryn says. "I'm more excited about this than words can express. And there's no way that I would do this with anyone other than my sister. I have great respect for her and we trust each other 100 percent."
Kelle Barr is a Portage-based freelance reporter who can be reached at
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