Hello, friends of The Creative Space!
We are writing to you, partners, stakeholders, coworkers and friends, who have supported us in some way over the past 10+ years. (Some of you have come to all three of our openings!) 🙂
We are super blessed to hear of the impact this space and vision has had over the past decade and we’ve been holding our breath to see if something could happen to stop this next announcement.
It is with disappointment that we share the news that we will not be able to continue operating at our beautiful home at 12 Dunlop Street East, but will be looking for a smaller location, hopefully in 2019.
As many of you know, we have sacrificed a lot to grow this vision, taking it well beyond our doors to be a catalyst for startup activity in our downtown and around the province, bringing a spotlight to Barrie and pioneering the energy behind the emerging entrepreneurial eco-system, seeing more and more public-private partnerships year after year. Our dream has always to be a space where the public and private sectors work together to help small businesses/startups collaborate, learn and grow within a trusted community.
We were one of six genuine coworking spaces in Canada when we launched back in 2008 and joined only a couple of handfuls of such spaces in North America. We instigated Simcoe County’s first hackerspace with SimCoLab. We were instrumental in pushing the envelope around public-private partnerships, with relationships with public schools, high schools, Junior Achievement, YMCA, Georgian College, Maclaren Art Centre, Laurentian University and the City of Barrie.
Some of the highlighted events and programs we are proud of include SimCoLab, smOffice, Startup Barrie, Ignite Barrie, Open Coffee Club, TrepDesks, TrepTalks, TrepMixers, Pitch Planet, SPARK, Boardsters, video game summer camps, The Creative Space Collingwood (which will still remain open), Blockchain and Buskers, etc.
We’ve seen hundreds of companies come through our doors and thousands of people come through our space. Notable successful startups that have started, incubated or called TCS home include, Chickapea Pasta, Tandempark, FreshSpoke, Digital Giants, Inciteful Solutions, S.M.A.R.T. Tutoring, Catalyst Communications, Red Byrd 3D, Generic Pharma 2.0, Vertagro, Charger Foods, PIVX, RiseGear, Nooro, Plan-A Simcoe, Rhubarb Media, etc. (we could list so many more!).
We were intentional to combine business with arts and culture from day one. We’ve enjoyed opening up our space to the arts community via art installations, art and craft shows, theatre productions, play and poetry readings, book launches, photo and video shoots, dance and improv shows, concerts, painting classes, ArtTech Summer Camps, and hosting the band The Morals for a few years in our basement… just to name a few. Business, art and life, together! 🙂
And this year we decided to make smOffice an all-Indigenous focus, working towards growing a strong vibrant ecosystem of Indigenous and non-Indigenous startups working together for the common good.
Sandra and I have found ourselves in tears at times since we decided to make this call. Our identity is so woven into TCS and with you, our coworking comrades and friends. Having poured over 10 years of our lives into this vision and into our city’s startup and arts culture, we feel the vision is not complete and many new ideas are awaiting fruition. We feel deeply that Barrie needs The Creative Space in our downtown for the now and future support and growth of our emerging startup culture – empowering everyday entrepreneurs.
We would love to offer hope for a TCS 4.0 (fourth space move) down the road to continue to partner with all in the ecosystem, as has been our mantra for 10 years, with The City, the College, the soon-to-open Sandbox and other small business and startup resources.
We continue to have offers from a few surrounding regions to move and start spaces there, but our heart is here and we believe we all can accomplish this for the betterment of generations to come and be a continued spotlight on Barrie, making it THE place to start and grow a business.
To steal a quote from a letter from another indie coworking space manager, we’ve come to realize that this is the zenith of our energy….,
“The most important work you do is the work you do every day to foster a safe, comfortable, and supportive community. The members in front of you (not the potential ones “out there” waiting for you) and the community they help create are what makes your coworking community stand out from the rest. The connections you have with one another are your north star. Those days where you felt like you got nothing done because you were talking with members all day? Those are probably the days you are doing the most work to keep your business strong and healthy. And when new members come to your doors they’ll see the love and energy that is created in your space and they’ll want to stay.”
Thank you again for your support and friendships over the years.
Chad and Sandra, The Creative Space
PS – Come visit us up at Canopy Coworking – the newest and most unique coworking space in the region. Built beside a forest with a special focus on providing a more nature-connected vibe to your working environment. www.canopycoworking.ca