The new Stilly Valley Collective provides office and classroom space for growing local businesses and held its grand opening on Jan. 15.
The project is from the Stilly Valley Chamber of Commerce and is located at 103 E Third Street, Arlington.
The Stilly Valley Collective opened its doors last October but held an open house in January.
“Our private offices are almost full,” said Jennifer Egger, executive director of the Stilly Valley Chamber of Commerce.
“We’d really like to start attracting actual co-workers. People who don’t want to make the commute down to Seattle and just want to do some work here,” she said.
Over the last couple of months Egger and others have been working to get the building cleaned up and furnished.
The location was formerly the Advanced Orthopaedic Institute and is now owned by Reactive Physical Therapy, who are partnering with the Stilly Valley Collective who take up the majority of the building.
Businesses like Emergency Medical Education, which provides medical training and education, have moved out of their homes and into the collective already.
“They’re the perfect example of a business that outgrew their kitchen table and needed to move out,” said Egger.
Jamie Sawdon, co-owner of Emergency Medical Education, said that the business had “taken over the dining room and the spare bedroom,” at her home, but now it can operate out of a business location.
“This is a nice central spot so our instructors can come here and pick up materials,” she said.
Kiersten Baiamonte, co-owner of Bio-Monte: Tours of Italy, has also been able to move her business into the collective.
“Having the co-op has really just provided us a community to work in with our fellow small business owners of Arlington,” she said.
Businesses receive support like Wi-Fi and utilities, and secure phone and internet lines are available at additional cost.
“We have a couple of businesses that do financial transactions that need that line,” said Egger.
Classroom, studio and small-scale meeting room space is also available.
“We’ve been here three months, and those three months were spent on how to best utilize the space,” said Egger, who added that the classroom space has been used a lot so far.
The small meeting room could be used for interviews or document signing, said Egger.
“You can imagine with the AMMIC [Arlington-Marysville Manufacturing Industrial Center] going in, before there’s a brick-and-mortar building any businesses coming in are still going to need space to do interviews,” she said.
Plans for a coffee shop to move into the front of the building are already underway as well.
“It’s been awesome for the local economy because this isn’t just a vacant building anymore,” said Egger.
Some of the major signage at the front still says Advanced Orthopaedic Institute, although Egger said that will eventually be removed.
The Stilly Valley Collective also serves as a new office for the Stilly Valley Chamber of Commerce and potentially as the future Visitor Information Center.
The chamber currently has a contract with the city to run the Visitor Information Center at Legion Park, although that contract’s term will end soon.
“One of the challenges in the little red building was security, we called 911 on a really regular basis,” said Egger.
“I think we lost a lot of volunteers over there because of the security as well,” she said.
The depot at Legion Park was originally built mainly to provide public restrooms at Legion Park. Egger said it served it’s purpose as a visitor center well, but that the Collective building could provide a new location.
“We’re excited that we’re growing and we appreciate the support of the community,” said Egger.
More information about the Stilly Valley Collective is available at the chamber’s website at www.stillyvalleychamber.com.