Click through each phase to read more on our development plan and project goals.
3 Phase Development Plan.
1.1 COOPERATIVE TAPROOM
By featuring food and drinks from small, local businesses with a commitment to local and sustainable sourcing, the Crafthouse will serve as a showcase for local businesses, and by providing a venue to sell their products wholesale and retail, will create jobs offsite at farms, food businesses, and with artists and artisans within the community. And by restoring a cornerstone building in the Clifton community to a place for neighbors to gather once more, the project will be a model of small-town revitalization in a way that both honors the history of the building and Village, and addresses a variety of community needs and charitable purposes.
As a cooperative, the project’s supported businesses will maintain democratic control over the project as member-owners, allowing the Crafthouse to operate for the benefit of those businesses rather than the bottom line. It is this community management of a shared resource which recommends cooperatives as a solution to the “tragedy of the commons”, and why they’ve been called “an important instrument for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals”. The utilization of a cooperative business structure will make this project – and all of the small rural businesses it will support - more resilient to crises like Covid. This project and its uniqueness and visibility would elevate cooperatives as a model for other businesses to emulate in rural Greene County, mere miles from where our previous grant sought to employ this model in succession planning with local businesses. Given that cooperatives are also more likely to succeed than traditional corporations, with 90% still operating after 5 years as opposed to 5%, cooperatives have proven to be effective at protecting jobs in both existing and emerging small rural businesses.
1.2 COMMUNITY SPACE
With an upstairs community space, the co-op will provide opportunities for rural small business owners like soap makers, yoga instructors, and painters to host classes and workshops, and the opportunity for community members and the many tourists who visit the area to enjoy these activities. As consumer trends continue to shift towards valuing experiences instead of just things, small businesses must shift from relying on retail products on a shelf towards incorporating consumers in their process if they’re going to survive. But communities like Clifton lack the spaces these artists and artisans need to offer these experiences and monetize their craft, with facilities either non-existent or lacking the equipment or infrastructure necessary. The Crafthouse’s initial designs include a 6 foot utility sink for easy cleanup, a changeable layout to suit a variety of events, and more specifics identified as needs of local businesses. This predevelopment project would further clarify the needs of small and emerging rural businesses that the Crafthouse can provide infrastructure to support.
By including things like an elevator, gender-neutral bathrooms, even dedicating 20% of their taps to exciting non-alcoholic options like local kombucha and flavored seltzer water, the project will provide a space that’s truly accessible to and inclusive of everyone in the community. The project was designed to create a high tide that raises all ships, as is embodied in its vision of “a community where all members can live and thrive doing what we love, and where we can share our talents and crafts, thereby increasing our community's resilience, sustainability, affordability, diversity, and overall vitality.” As such benefits of the project would extend beyond jobs creation and economic development, and reach beneficiaries beyond even just the small and emerging rural businesses the Crafthouse is designed to support. With the tagline of “crafting community”, the Co-op seeks to provide that community space where everyone can come together and relate, over a glass of locally made and flavored seltzer water or a locally brewed beer, and build community wealth together.
2.1 AFFORDABLE ARTIST HOUSING
Inspired by a preliminary feasibility study on affordable artist housing done in partnership with Yellow Springs Home Inc., they’ve designed a third floor housing space based on those findings, and partnered with Wright State University Masters of Public Administration students to conduct updated research, with the original authors as co-advisors.
By co-designing their residency programs and selection process with local partners, the project will offer residencies in specific areas such as visual, literary, and performance arts, connecting artists with mentors and artist-specific business incubation services to help them develop their passion into a profession.
These connections have long been sought after as can be seen in the initial feasibility study findings, responses from the intake survey for the Yellow Springs Arts Council, and testimony of local artists supporting this project like Elly Marshall, Margaret Neff, and Karl Yost, all included in Appendix F. By providing access to the community space and developing partnerships to tie in nearby underutilized spaces, the project will provide artists in residence and all members with access to the networking, studio, performance, and other spaces needed to live and thrive as artists, makers, and supporters.
3.1 SHARED COMMERCIAL KITCHEN
With access to a commercial kitchen space, local independent bakers, food trucks, farmers, and other small food businesses can sell to restaurants and grocery stores and have access to more space and better equipment when they need it.
Because it will be integrated into the taproom space, businesses can also host pop-ups, testing out a concept by using the Co-op space as their own restaurant. This way, entrepreneurs can realize their dream of having a café without the barrier of financing and managing a restaurant of their own, hurdles that are even greater in our rural setting. It’s this flexibility and ingenuity that has the project’s kitchen incubator partners so excited, as this type of facility rental and opportunity to build out a customer base at a bustling tourist destination is unique. And by building upon these partnerships, supported businesses will be able to take advantage of services developed in partnership with experts like Spark Fairborn and ECDI in order to scale their operations.
By being able to use this community-owned shared resource rather than having to finance their own facility, emerging businesses are more likely to succeed during the especially difficult startup phase, and existing small businesses can enjoy the flexibility this infrastructure allows to participate in the “gig” economy and choose their own definition of success as they balance multiple endeavors. With this food production space downstairs from one designed to support the artists and artisans who rely on hospitality jobs in the gig economy and support services connecting the two, the project creates a hub of small business activity from which it can make create the networks and accomplish the workforce development that all of these businesses need to prosper.
Become a member.
The Clifton Crafthouse Co-op will be a worker, community member, and business-owned taproom and community space featuring a shared commercial kitchen and affordable artist housing. Designed to meet specific needs identified by local non-profits, we hope to leverage the cooperative model to create a community space for the benefit of all.