BONAVISTA, N.L. — The Commons is now officially open as employees, managers, organizers, members of government — and most importantly — business owners who will avail of the services were all in attendance at the opening at the Bonavista public building on July 19.
The event was the culmination of years of work by the Bonavista-Trinity Regional Chamber of Commerce (BTRCC), project manager Chelsey MacNeil, and many more, as well as funding from both levels of government.
“Entrepreneurship is an incredible thing for a community to pursue,” said MacNeil at the event.
“Small businesses require community to create that collective interest. The community also has to buy from it and into the greater vision.”
The Commons offers multiple work spaces, both communal and private, assistance and advice on business, extensive printing services and even a marketplace on the main floor which will see new entrepreneurs who make or produce their own goods locally able to use the space to sell at six-month lease increments. This incubation area includes varied space-types from a larger area to pop-up spaces. During the annual Church Street Festival this year there will be a pop-up market in the area, as well as outside, for these types of producers.
A board committee of three decides which applicants can gain access to the area.
BTRCC president John Norman addressed those in attendance as well. He said this project is the culmination of many years of deep thought and discussion at the board level. It will include satellite partners like the YMCA Enterprise, CBDC, Futurepreneur and more.
“These services now come to you and help encourage that entrepreneurial ecosystem that we’ve all been trying to grow in Bonavista and the surrounding communities throughout our region,” he said to those at the event.
Nancy Robbins of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) and Bonavista-Burin-Trinity MP Churence Rogers also spoke, encouraging more similar growth in the region for the future.
Mark and Crystal Fudge of Bonabooch Kombucha are potential occupants who may be able to use the marketplace, in addition to becoming members for the Commons upstairs.
Crystal told The Packet this incubation space helps them while they are in the early stages of their business.
“They could provide supports and services to us as a new startup that we couldn’t get if we basically when we went on our own,” she said.
Kombucha is a fermented tea which is an organic health drink with probiotics. They planned to start their business after Mark began making and drinking Kombucha about five years ago — becoming a major proponent of its health benefits in the process.
They say commercial kitchen space is not easily attainable, and having services for businesses like this in the community helps them greatly.
“Having a space provided through the Commons is essential for us to start our business,” said Crystal. “We can start small and grow our business from there.”
The Commons is holding open houses into August and currently accepting memberships from local businesses.
For more information, go to www.thecommonsbonavista.com.