Did You Know?

From 2016 to 2017, College of the Rockies experienced a 14.6% increase in students

Nearly $2 million coworking facility opens in Cranbrook

Ground Floor is Cranbrook’s third coworking facility. Funding came from local businesses and private investors within and outside of the region.

Ground Floor Coworking Space is designed for local entrepreneurs and investors looking to grow their business

A crowd of business professionals packed the Ground Floor Coworking Space in Cranbrook, B.C., during its grand opening on April 5, 2018. The nearly $2 million facility is a block from the city’s downtown area and it features private offices, open-concept work spaces and access to amenities that small business owners and those just starting out typically can’t afford.

“You don’t need to invest in a printer, a digital projector or meeting space, it’s all here,” said Tanya Malcolm, community and marketing manager at Ground Floor, “If you have a meeting in Vancouver, come in, and join Cisco Spark and remote with your colleagues in Vancouver.”

A membership at Ground Floor also covers the cost of hiring administrative staff.

“If you are meeting with a client, our administrator is at the front desk to greet them and tell them where your office or workspace is in the facility,” said Malcolm. “Our staff is working for everybody.”

Various concierge services, such as mail handling and appointment scheduling, are available as well. Membership is monthly, but entrepreneurs can also drop in for the day.

Fostering business growth

(L to R) Tanya Malcolm, community and marketing manager at Ground Floor Coworking Space, Sean Campbell, general manager of Community Futures East Kootenay, and Tom Shypitka, MLA for Kootenay East, celebrate the official ribbon cutting at Ground Floor.

Working from home can be a challenge, with all the distractions, and it can result in feelings of isolation. Ground Floor fosters a spirit of collaboration and encourages networking. It is designed to facilitate business growth in the region by providing a place to start, and by aiding in the transition between working from home and operating a store front.

Visitors to the region can also use Ground Floor to test the waters as it were before they decide to make a business and lifestyle change.

“When people think about coming to this region, it’s for the mountain lifestyle, slowing down,” said Malcolm. “With a facility like this in the region, if you are coming here to vacation, you might extend that time because now you see that you can rent space and have a professional workspace . . . Now, maybe that visit can be extended and then you really get a taste for what life is like here.”

The idea that seeded Ground Floor came from the former general manager of what is now Community Futures East Kootenay. Pat Bowron, who is now the vice president of international and regional development at Cranbrook’s College of the Rockies, said that at the time the region and marketplace weren’t ready for the idea to take root, but fast forward 20 years and it’s long overdue.

Private offices at Ground Floor are being occupied and memberships are selling fast. From web developers to mortgage experts and resource consultants, all kinds of location-independent companies will be rubbing shoulders and benefiting from shared workspace.