New workspace open in town
Refresh Annapolis Valley – a group for local web programmers – has been using the Hub’s facilities as a meeting space. From left are Michael Caplan, Detlef Heiss and Pierre Clouthier. Submitted
By Jennifer Hoegg
Pull up a seat and get down to business in Kentville’s newest workspace - no résumé or interview needed.
The Hub Annapolis Valley is a co-working space, host Frances Schagen says.
“It’s not like working at home and it’s not like working at a café. It’s sort of in-between.”
Every day the Hub has been open since the beginning of October, there have been people stopping by to work in the large gym of the United Church of St. Paul and St. Stephen hall.
Desks, lighting and wireless Internet connections are set up for anyone needing a work space for an hour or all the time – similar to the set up at the Hub Halifax and other co-working space in the global network.
“It’s not about offices or specific desks,” Schagen said of the membership-based entity. “It’s about mobile workers. That could be anyone: small business, entrepreneurs, freelancers, creatives.”
Larger businesses could also make use of the space, she pointed out.
“If there’s a company that is outgrowing their space and they need room for two of their employees, for example,” Schagen said. “Or could be someone who is working for a larger corporation and is just in the Valley for a day or a week – all of those options are there.”
The Hub is operating out of the hall at 440 Main Street for at least the next two months. As the Kentville church became part of the amalgamated Orchard Valley United Church, it has a building to rent or sell.
Schagen would like to see the space become the Hub’s permanent home – allowing for leasehold improvements.
”It is going to work,” she said. “It’s just a matter of making it happen.”
Starting in January, she said, they’ll have a clearer picture of where the owners want to go and where they want to go, and make it a little more permanent.
Free trials were offered in October and memberships and event bookings have been filling up November.
In addition to parking spaces, ample natural light and desks in the large hall, the Hub also has a stage, commercial kitchen, smaller meeting rooms, a media room and board room for members’ use and to sublet to other groups.
A number of special events, including a TED Salon, have taken place and a few groups have made the Hub a meeting place.
Mike Caplan, a local programmer, said Refresh Annapolis Valley – a meet-up for professional web developers – found the Hub to “be a logical meeting place.”
At Refresh’s inaugural meeting in November, 16 people dropped by.
“(The Hub) is awesome,” he said. “It’s a huge facility and lots of room for growth.”
Having the kitchen is fabulous, Caplan added.
“To have this fledgling group meet around food helped us socialize more openly and freely.”
Schagen said it’s a good place to get things done and connect.
“Half of it is the space and the equipment and all of that stuff but the other half is the community,” the Kentville bookkeeper said. “Being able to sit down and you get stuck on something, but there is someone right across the table who knows how to do that and they can fix you up.”
“It’s dynamic and interesting,” he said as a place to work without “suffering all the hubbub of working in a café or a library.”
Editor's note: Since this story appeared in the Dec. 4 Kings County Advertiser, the HUB group has left the United Church space and is operating as a virtual network. For future plans, visit www.thehubannapolisvalley.ca or the group's Facebook page.