Taos maker space closed pending new location

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Local entrepreneur Kyle Butler is looking for a new space for his creative endeavors after the recent closure of Taos Launchpad, a creative maker space he set up in Taos.

After a six-month trial period with their landlord, Butler and partner Paige McCluggage at the Launchpad have shut their doors and are looking for a new venue to hold their operations. Butler and McCluggage held their campus in the warehouse adjacent to the former Pieces 2 building on Paseo del Cañon.

The space operated as a budding venue for locals to explore a variety of vocational and educational opportunities while having the freedom to create and experiment in various fields using a 3-D printer, wood-working tools and sound engineering. Taos Launchpad opened in October and was planning several ventures including plastic recycling to convert into 3-D printer filament for various projects. 

Butler and McCluggage were given a few days to remove their belongings and equipment before property owner and Pieces thrift store owner Becky Holsinger closed the doors for good.

“I didn’t want to leave,” Butler said. “We’re thankful (Holsinger) gave us the opportunity to do what we did.”

Holsinger allowed the nonprofit to operate for six months rent free from September 2017 to February 2018 to help it get established. A drafted agreement, which neither party signed, states an option “to negotiate another agreement and any rental fee will be based on the financial stability and income of the organization but will be of an amount that does not create hardship for the organization.” According to Butler, no such negotiations took place before the locks were changed on the building around 9 a.m. on Feb. 1, and the two were told to leave.

Holsinger said she had given them time to remove their belongings and would allow them to gather up their equipment still inside the building.

Holsinger had said there were aspects of the drafted agreement that were not being adhered to although she declined to go into details.

“There were violations of what I would consider standard operating things for a business,” Holsinger said. 

With several community projects underway and planned, Butler said the nonprofit was getting ready to officially establish a governing board and was also on the way to having steady monthly rent payments available for the space. Workshops have been canceled or postponed indefinitely pending a new location for the Launchpad.

“I was dedicating myself 60 hours plus to the project,” Butler said, “just to keep that place open.”

Taos Launchpad was a registered nonprofit with the state of New Mexico, but its status is listed on the state’s website as revoked and “not in good standing.”

Both parties say they are looking toward the future and are trying to move on. Holsinger said in an email that she did not make the decision to close the Launchpad lightly.

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