Timed competitions never go out of style, because few things light the spark of our imaginations like an impending deadline. These days, hack-a-thons and startup weekends dominate our newsfeeds. What sets Make48™ apart? We’re about the development of physical consumer products. When we say we love witnessing ideas come to life right before our very eyes, we mean it.
All of which is to say: Inventors are nothing without their tools! Raw materials are essential to our trade. Which is why we’re thrilled to announce that Westlake Ace Hardware is our Hardware sponsor for the second Make48 in a row. Teams competing in Make48 this October will be using gift vouchers from Westlake to purchase the materials they need to turn their concepts into reality during a mad dash around the store on Saturday morning. We had so much fun the first time around; we can’t wait to do it again.
“We’re really excited to be involved with something unique, something that’s different for this area and that takes advantage of a fantastic facility,” explained Westlake Ace’s Robert Million. “To be honest, the entire concept—especially the DIY aspect—falls very closely in line with who our general customers are. It’s a great fit.”
We believe everyday people are capable of coming up with ways of improving existing consumer products, which is why we don’t require Make48 competitors to have prior prototyping experience. Westlake knows for sure that they are. Their 19 stores in the Kansas City area help local residents design inventive solutions to problems they experience at home, day in and day out.
“A lot of people who come in are inventors without even knowing it,” said Matt McNitt. “Our customers run across problems in their homes for which a solution hasn’t been invented yet all the time—so they make their own. Every hour we’re open, we’re helping someone solve a problem. In a way, I feel like we’re always fostering invention. To what degree and whether the customer takes that to market… well, that’s another question!”
Robert and Matt emphasized the fact that Westlake stores carry a much wider array of hardware items than you’d typically find at say, a Lowe’s or Home Depot. And instead of having to buy an item in bulk, customers can pick out exactly what they need. In that way, local inventors are much better able to personalize their solutions—as well as find exactly what they’re looking for.
Westlake’s intention is to be “the go-to store for anything remotely in our realm.” Given that Kansas City is home to an ever-growing community of makers, doers, and tinkerers, we’d say they are more than well on their way!
Thank you Westlake Ace! We couldn’t do it without you, and we can’t wait to see you at Make48.