With plans for a microbrewery in an old garage, offices in former jail cells and, potentially, a venue for the farmers market during the winter, the Sackville Commons is a new space for collaborative work.
The Commons was created for the Sackville community. Located at 64 Main Street, this multipurpose space occupies the former fire and police station.
Commons co-founders Melody Petlock, Rachel Mathis and Julia Feltham are trying to help organizations and individuals come together in a shared work space.
Speaking to what inspired the project, Feltham said that Sackville has many isolated individuals and businesses with no space for collaborative work.
“We are sharing resources and lowering overhead for everybody and making sure that start-ups, entrepreneurs, social entrepreneurs and nonprofits can work together,” Feltham said.
The Commons has been open for almost a month, though still undergoing renovations. The grand opening will be in April of 2017. Daybreak Activity Centre, Bay of Fungi, Open Sky Co-op and Live-Bait Theatre are some of the businesses that are or will be using the space.
Ron Kelly Spurles, manager of tourism and business development in Sackville, said he thinks the Commons is a great idea. “The idea has been around for a long time and it is impressive and exciting that it is happening,” Spurles said.
“[The Commons] has the potential to offer a service to many small businesses that might otherwise be working on their own, at home, or trying to find a working space,” he said. “Now they have the ability to work in a common space, share resources, share knowledge and collaborate with each other.”
Membership is required in order to use the Commons. The base level of membership is the day-tripper, which costs $20 per month. There are also part-time and full-time memberships available.
Kathleen Cowie, a fourth-year student and member of student-run entrepreneurial group Enactus, said she sees a lot of potential for networking because of this new space.
“[Sackville] is a great spot to meet people, but unlike big cities, where there are a lot of networking events, in Sackville there are not a lot of opportunities for that,” she said. “The Commons provides potential for these partnerships.”
The Mount Allison Students’ Union (MASU) has announced that they will be a community partner with the Sackville Commons. The MASU contributed a one-time donation of $500 to the Commons in what Tina Oh, MASU vice-president external affairs, said is and effort to help foster a better relationship between the town and the university.
“It is important for my office to work with the town,” Oh said. “When I look at this project I believe it is so ideal, so perfect for Sackville.”