Coworking spaces have benefits for entrepreneurs, including cost savings, opportunities for collaboration, mailbox use, and more…but what are some of the reasons that a downtown business improvement area board would decide to move to a coworking space?

To find out, we interviewed Downtown Orillia Management Board (DOMB) manager, Lisa Thomson-Roop, about the DOMB’s move to Creative Nomad Studios in downtown Orillia, some of the reasons behind the move, and how it is benefitting the DOMB members. Some of her answers may surprise you!

CNS: Can you give us a quick rundown of what the DOMB is and what it does?

LTR: The Downtown Orillia Management Board is the board that oversees the Orillia Downtown Business Improvement Area. The mandate of the BIA is to market, beautify, maintain, and develop Downtown Orillia as a heritage shopping attraction, and as the primary regional centre for business in Orillia and area. We are a local board of the City of Orillia but are funded by the Downtown property and business owners through a tax levy, and not funded by the general taxpayer.

CNS: Why did the DOMB decide to move to Creative Nomad Studios?

LTR: It’s a beautiful building, and for so long the building was left to deteriorate and reflected poorly on the downtown. This was an opportunity to be part of an incredible revitalization that more accurately reflects the growth of the core over the past decade and the thriving downtown. The inside and outside of the building are stunning.

That’s the warm and fuzzy answer but most importantly, it was a financially beneficial move for us as an organization to share a space and eliminate some overhead costs. We have our own dedicated office space on the second floor and ample room for the storage of all of our maintenance equipment and event hardware right here in the building.

CNS: How has moving to the CNS space enabled the DOMB to do what it does?

LTR: Aside from saving us money, which can be reallocated to the promotion and marketing of downtown, the opportunity to collaborate with like-minded organizations has been key. It’s a hub of creative and economic activity with unlimited opportunity for our organization to grow by creating partnerships with CNS and others using the space. We interact daily with other community groups, entrepreneurs, businesses, and event organizers. These partnerships are invaluable.

CNS: What are some aspects of the CNS space that entrepreneurs you talk to are excited about?

LTR: CNS is a great first step for many entrepreneurs moving out of their home office or studio into an affordable and welcoming space. The fact that there are several membership options available to allow entrepreneurs to test the water, mitigates a lot of the risk, which is very appealing as they grow their business. The bonus of being part of a collaborative workspace that offers relevant workshops aimed at growing your business and puts you in daily contact with like-minded members is just as important for the growth of a business as an affordable space. 

CNS: Any final thoughts?

LTR: We’re looking forward to working with CNS in the future as COVID-19 safety restrictions allow and being part of this economic and creative hub in the Downtown Orillia.

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