Any good Realtor knows success is hinged to location, and after packing up and leaving behind an industrial warehouse in Northeast Oklahoma City, the all-volunteer crew behind the OKC Infoshop has resettled in Paseo Arts District and re-branded as the Scissortail Social Space.
Despite the new name, the group's mission remains the same: Create a basic meeting space filled with everything from coffee and tea to a library and parts to fix up a bike "? all donated for use or consumption.
"The location makes a big difference because there is a lot more foot traffic and a lot of interesting things going on in the neighborhood," volunteer Marshall Carter said. "Where we were before, people would have to intentionally seek you out and the problem with that is you are pretty much just catering to the same people. But we are interested in reaching out to the broader community."
The Paseo storefront is substantially smaller, yielding less room for various larger-scale projects and gatherings. On Friday, the group officially celebrates the opening of its bike shop by hosting a silent art auction. Carter expects it to be Scissortail's biggest fund-raiser of the year, to help fund a new computer lab.
The smaller space has larger rent, but volunteer Alex Gragg hopes that as word about the more visible location spreads, so will its donor base.
"So much of this is coming out of our own pocket, but we are using this as experiment to see if other people also interested in these ideas," he said. "We will see if this is a viable project when we see if we can pay the bills, but if people do get something out of this and see it as valuable, then people will be excited to see it evolve."
Among the various uses of the space, the bike shop has seen the most excitement, Gragg said, and kids have been stopping by almost daily to see if the communal shop has opened. Volunteer Gabriel Friedman said that the bike shop opens today and volunteers will help repair rides from 3-9 p.m. Wednesdays and from noon to 6 p.m. Saturdays.
Friedman said that if visitors don't have money to spend on their bike, they can make up in volunteer hours what they can't contribute financially. Scissortail has roughly a dozen core volunteers who come and go, but Friedman said that changing faces help maintain the project's vitality.
"It is evolving on a daily basis as far as who is helping out, and the door is always open for more people to get involved," he said. "It is about using this space and as long as it fits within the perimeters of what we are about, then hell,yeah, go ahead!"
Scissortail Social Space fund-raiser takes place at 5 p.m. Friday at Scissortail Social Space, 3010 N. Walker.