Critical part of Burlington’s commercial eco-system now has to look for new digs: Regus shutting down.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON.  June 1, 2013.  It started when Stuart Crawford told colleagues on the Business in Burlington web site that he was going to have to vacate the office space he had because Regus was shutting down their operation in August.  That was a bummer and Crawford wasn’t the only person in this situation.


James Burchill, the guy that runs the Business in Burlington (BiB) MeetUp group, has maintained that the best way we have of communicating really effectively is to use the social media that is available to us.

Here is how this has worked this time.

Crawford puts up his note.  We at Our Burlington put in a call to Ian Cameron at the Economic Development Corporation who gets in touch with Crawford.

Others from the BiB site plug into the conversation.

Here is how part of it went:

Hi Everyone…The Regus office at 460 Brant Street is shutting down leaving many businesses without a business home at the end of August. We are looking for a new home for our IT marketing business. We need a small office for our 2 team members to work advises Crawford

Barb Keck, who runs a graphics operation in Burlington passes along a recommendation (Try for Crawford to follow-up.

Jose L. Ponce adds that the closest Regus will be Glen Abbey (Oakville). “Yesterday, I did receive an email with an interesting idea on co-working space for entrepreneurs / small business. I know it is not an immediate solution but I think it’s something that can be developed over time since I am sure there is demand for shared/flexible open spaces.”

Jason Calacanis comes back with: I started a co-working space in LA and passes along some detail.

“It was a co-working space in Los Angeles. Being an entrepreneur is sometimes lonely work, and having a bunch of founders around you makes it a lot easier. We’re calling it LAUNCH co-work, and it’s a 10,000+ square-foot, 30-foot ceiling space in Culver City with room for a dozen start-ups.

“We’re looking for awesome collaborators to learn, share and generally change the world with. I might angel invest in some of the start-ups, have them on “This Week in Startups” or just talk shop in the kitchen.

Rent starts at $50 a desk/month (unfunded) and tops out at $350 (funded). We’re not making a profit, we’re making a community!”

The Regus operation on the top floor of 460 Brant is shutting down in August.  The space recently had a major face lift done to the front of the building.  The movie theatre on the ground floor went out of business recently – they didn’t want to invest in an upgrade to their projection equipment.

Interesting idea but the tenants at Regus need to nail down new space now

Marie Copeland (Hryczynski) comes on-line and adds that she too is at Regus in Burlington and  “only needs very small space, even shared space as we are fully paperless and don’t even have a filing cabinet – most of our clients want to deal by phone and only occasional client wants to come to the office.”

She adds that she has a commercial realtor looking — how about we survey some people at Regus to see if we can get several businesses together and create a shared office.  Contact her if you’re interested: 905-308-8063

None of this could have taken place without the BiB site.  That crowd meets on Wednesday June 5th – at Ivy’s on the South Service Road; might be an opportunity for some ideas to get some traction.

The people that run the smaller, usually techie type operations but a number of service providers as well, meet monthly in the city. Business in Burlington now has a number of its members having to look for new space with the announced closure of the Regus operation on Brant Street.

What was a little on the disappointing side was that Regus didn’t appear to be doing much for their clients other than trying to get them to perhaps move to their Oakville location and the Economic Development people didn’t appear to be moving quickly to resolve the problem. For the people with small office space needs – having to find a new home in a couple of months is disruptive and it will be expensive.  Moving your computers and all your communications gear is not cheap.

Burlington’s Mayor Goldring wants to meet with the tenants and see what the city can do to help.  He leaves for a short trip to Germany next week, where he will be meeting with people in the water business.  More on that later.  His Chief of Staff will be making calls and pulling people together.

The Mayor will be traveling with the Executive Director of the Economic Development Corporation – perhaps they can have a chat about how one services the smaller operations.

The small operations are the base metal of every economy. They provide services or vital parts that the bigger guys need.  It is at this small, two, three five member shops that make the big wheels turn around.  The Mayor would do well to connect with these people and find a way to keep them in town.

Quite why Economic development has not taken the lead on this is – disappointing.

Let’s see what comes out of this.

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