A brief history of the Maintenance Shop


Winner of Best Music Venue.

Jill O'Brien

The Maintenance Shop, or M-Shop, is known all around as the longest-running, all-ages venue in Ames, and is heralded as the venue that Ames musicians dream of playing at. Forty-three years later, the 195-seat venue is known around Ames as a haven for all kinds of shows. Check out the important dates that got the M-Shop to where it is today. 

January 1974: The Maintenance Shop opens in the basement of the Memorial Union. The Student Union Board at the time had the idea to turn the actual maintenance shop in the basement into a live music venue and decided to just keep the name. 

1986: Blues artist Eddie Shaw and his band, Eddie Shaw & The Wolfgang play the M-Shop. The band returned to play at the venue for its 40th anniversary celebration. 

1994: The M-Shop wins the W.C Handy Award for Best Blues Club in America. 

2005: The Maintenance Shop discontinues its food service after serving as a deli and coffee shop since the beginning. Today, the M-Shop serves drinks and popcorn during its shows. 

2012: Alternative folk band The Lumineers play at the M-Shop, weeks shy of their song “Ho Hey” became a hit. That same year, Twenty One Pilots played at the venue, and later went on to be some of music’s biggest stars, another example of a band’s humble beginnings at the M-Shop.