A special Happy Hour edition of Maker Mornings will feature a Vidalia businessman’s success story and the unveiling of an interactive map that highlights Central Louisiana’s makers. The free event will be held from 4:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. on Tuesday, May 2, at The Gem, located at 1014 Third St., in downtown Alexandria.
Guest speaker Tance Hughes will share the story of Southern Designs, a business he started in 2008 when he was a senior at Vidalia High School. Hughes would screen print T-shirts in his garage. When orders grew, he moved into a retail unit and then a larger facility in his hometown, eventually transitioning from printing T-shirts to manufacturing decorative, laser-cut metal and wood products. Today, Southern Designs employs 30 people who work out of a 30,000-square-foot facility in Vidalia, exporting products throughout the United States and Canada.
“Rural entrepreneurship can be done. You can be successful in small communities,” he said. “I’m really proud of what we’ve done in a small town like Vidalia.”
Maker Mornings is a quarterly event the Central Louisiana Economic Development Alliance launched in early 2015 to bring local makers together to unlock their creative potential.
The May event culminates “100 Ways of Making,” a campaign to identify and highlight at least 100 makers in Central Louisiana. They will earn a spot on the interactive Central Louisiana Maker Map, which will be unveiled at the Maker Mornings event.
“Central Louisiana’s makers community continues to grow and contribute to our economy,” said CLEDA President Jim Clinton. “The Maker Map gives our makers a chance to shine, while showing the rest of the state and nation some of the great things that Central Louisiana has to offer.”
Maker Mornings is free, but registration is encouraged. “This special Happy Hour time will offer everyone the opportunity to network after work and be inspired a great speaker,” said John Cotton Dean, CLEDA’s Director of Regional Innovation.
Register at cenla.org. For more information about Maker Mornings, contact Dean at 318-441-3424 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also learn more by visiting facebook.com/MakerMornings.
To see products from Southern Designs, visit www.metalunlimited.com and www.southern.design.com.