The Bodgery opens in former Oscar Mayer plant

Published: Sep. 21, 2019 at 9:54 PM CDT
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One of the first tenants in Madison's former Oscar Mayer plant is open for business. After moving in to the former plant in June, The Bodgery hosted a grand opening Saturday.

The Bodgery is the first tenant in the building known as Building 20. More than 500 people came by to see how the local nonprofit transformed the space - including Kevin Scallon and his family.

Scallon has family history in the Oscar Mayer plant.

"Back in the late 1940s, my dad and at least one of his brothers worked here as meat cutters," he said.

Scallon also had connections to the plant.

"I had the distinction, I guess, of delivering one of the last loads of hogs," Scallon remembered

When the Oscar Mayer plant closed in 2017, the closing did not impact Scallon directly, but he remembers how it affected the whole city.

"There goes a lot of history and a lot of the growth and development of the city of Madison," Scallon said.

With The Bodgery opening, Scallon is glad to see the space being used again.

"This is a nice idea for community and for starting to repurpose and utilize available space," he said.

The Bodgery wants to turn their 14,000-square-foot space into a hub for the community to create.

"We want people to come in, play around, experiment, learn, try something out and build something with others," said John Eich, co-founder of The Bodgery.

The organization has set up workshops for everything from jewelry to knitting to woodworking. They also plan to hold classes and have a few nights each week where anyone can come and use the space for free.

"Being able to do something with your hands is really meaningful. It feels like you can see what you've created," Eich said.

The Bodgery wants to create a new space, but they also want to remember its history.

"Oscar Mayer was a hub here in the north side of town for people to make things for a business and when it went away, it left a hole," Eich said.

Eich added that while remembering the past, The Bodgery is grateful to be part of the space's future.

"Being able to come back and have people making things here again, it's really powerful," he said.

The owners of the Oscar Mayer plant are still looking for tenants to fill that space. Eventually, the former plant will house between 20 to 30 businesses.

For more information about how to take advantage of The Bodgery's space,