Community, Essays, Work

From the Ground Up: Groundwork!’s Year in Review

Groundwork! officially opened in the BETA space on December 1, 2014. We’ve been open for business in New Bedford for a little over a year. Before we opened our doors, Dena and I each wrote a personal essay about what we envisioned as the best possible outcome for Groundwork! We then read each other’s work and compared visions to make sure we were on the same page. I decided to look back at those essays, saved in Evernote on March 5th and 6th of 2014,  to see how we are doing so far.

Dena’s essay, in letter form, is much more poetic and expressive than mine which involves bulleted lists and side notes about legal incorporation and salaries. So we’ll start with Dena, who sets the tone:

So here it began, at a touch of fate, Sarah, my closest top dog creative being friend since we were little, rerouted and headed back to our hometown Cape Cod. We were bursting with ideas and energy and this is when the New Bedford Hub was born.

Sarah and Dena

Sunset on Mt. Cadillac before the madness began.

And we wondered how everyone else around us was dealing without a creative community hub too! So at this point we gave birth to a platform, for creative interchange, the New Bedford Hub a co-working space and creative center. Where work, lifestyle and creative juices can coalesce into one form, and at the same time build a community and create a space for people to exchange.

Beta Space

Day one in the BETA space.

And then here’s me:

Where do I want to be in 5 years? I think an ideal situation would look like this: We are running a successful business in New Bedford. We are set up in a beautiful old building with lots of brick and big windows that is near downtown and walking/ bike distance from lots of other local businesses.

GW exterior

Groundwork!’s home.

I’d say we’re pretty much on target so far, right?

And then it gets even better. Here’s Dena again:

We wanted to create a space that was clean, open enough for others to bring their own thoughts into, but also had a fun, laid back, creative appeal that felt fresh and alive. We wanted to have hand painted or drawn signs, art, herbs,plants and nature, with natural wood to relate to people and make them feel as comfortable and alive as possible. Our first priority was getting the co-working space and the functioning aspect of it up and running- good seating office tables- standing office tables- acess to individual outlets-wifi-printer-projectors-scanners, etc. We wanted the space to operate easily for users and have access to the most up to date technology, but without it being clunky or overbearingly technical at appearance.

Tim Cole of Partner Projects bringing beauty onto our walls.

Tim Cole of Partner Projects bringing beauty onto our walls.

We wanted this to be a hub, of all shapes and form and also a place where people felt as if they could not just visit, but be a part of and grow with.

Thanksgiving pie contest!

Thanksgiving pie contest!

Now I, being the pragmatist of the team, wrote up a bulleted list of goals:

To create a community for people who do meaningful, sustainable work

To create a way that people can share a public space without having to consume something

To build a sustainable business that benefits the community it is in

To help others create sustainable businesses and find a way to make a decent living that is also inspiring, engaging, and meaningful to them

To have fun at work

To create a work model that helps us to consume less/ eco friendly

To serve the needs of the economy of the future

To build the type of community that I wish existed now

To make a decent living, be able to live comfortably and support myself and my own work

To feel excited to go to work every day

To get people to talk to each other again… not on Facebook but face to face!

Groundwork Jams

Things that happen out of spontaneous interaction.

What do you all think?! How are we doing so far? And what’s next? Here are a few things Dena wrote about that we haven’t accomplished yet:

We also wanted to create certain areas that were more simple and that would create a space for quiet work where one needed to focus, as well as a mediation room for people to take breaks to sit silenty, meditate or do qigong.   We also created an active space for people that wanted to rock climb, do yoga, stretch, do a group activity.  Also, having a small area outside where we had plants and veggies growing and a small area for people to sit at tables.

Thoreau quote

We started to also bring in teachers and workshop leaders, artists, healers, and anything of interest to give lectures in the evening and on weekends where they would hold workshops. And small things developed down the road; we have an artist every two months showcasing their artwork on our walls and which would be up for sale and we also organize group expeditions, hiking, kayaking, climbing and yoga adventures.

Pretty ambitious, right? It’s funny, in the year since we started Groundwork!, it felt like things were taking forever. Looking back, I’m suddenly amazed at just how much we have already accomplished.

Anyway, the best part was the very end of Dena’s letter:

We believe that every step, every handshake, every conversation, every person and idea is important, and equivalent to a universal action, every small action is an action toward connecting us all.

work together

We’re here because of you.

And that is really the heart of our success and what we have been up to for the past year. It has been a truly amazing ride, and we can’t wait to see what the new year brings to all of us and all of you.

Cheers and happy holidays from the Groundwork! team. Keep on rockin’ New Bedford.

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Sarah

Co-founder at Groundwork!
Sarah lived all over South America, produced a documentary about Patagonia, and worked in digital marketing for a decade before settling in New Bedford to start Groundwork! She loves running a coworking space because she gets to meet the coolest people in the world.
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