Upon arriving to the Corvallis Foundry, you would never know that it’s been in its new home for only six weeks. Brad Attig has been hard at work moving from the old 800 square foot location to a larger and more versatile space. In addition to a new home, the Foundry has undergone big changes in its mission in the past year. What began as a small coworking space has transformed into a community-focused collective. The Foundry strives to empower entrepreneurs, creatives, risk takers and anyone else that shares the vision of community and economic development.
Attig, who has a background in retail merchandising and digital marketing, returned to Oregon after working in New York City with online startups. While living in Portland, he served on the board for Hatch Innovations, a non-profit coworking and innovation center. The mission at Hatch Innovations is to connect small entrepreneurs with resources and others to enhance economic and social development. In 2017 Hatch Innovations purchased the Corvallis Foundry. Soon after, Attig decided that the Foundry would fulfill its mission better as its own standalone non-profit based out of Corvallis.
“Corvallis Foundry is an experiment to say ‘can we make something work in a town this size that’s an innovation/coworking/small business startups support location that collaborates very closely with the other resources that are here?’” Attig says of the Foundry in its new iteration.
The Corvallis Foundry is located at 257 SW Madison Ave on the second floor. The main work area, also called the Great Hall, has small desk spaces and shared coworking spaces. For community members needing more space, there are larger desk options as well as office suites that can be rented on a monthly basis. All community members have access to two conference rooms, a lounge area, bathrooms, a shower, and a kitchen. While community members have access to these features when they join, anyone is welcome to request to use the space.
The space itself is versatile and encourages people to talk to each other and share ideas. The Great Hall is flooded with natural light during the day and can be reorganized to host large events that are too big for the conference rooms. Having the lounge area with couches and coffee tables allows community members to take a break from their workspace, relax and chat with others.
A Historic Home
The Corvallis Foundry’s new space is on the second floor of the Coleman Building on Madison and 2nd in downtown Corvallis. The building has a long history of entrepreneurship. Coleman Jewelers, a jewelry and watch repair shop, operated out of the building for over 80 years. The family-run business was a mainstay in downtown Corvallis before closing in 2012. Today the Corvallis Foundry is helping today’s small business owners get their start in the historic building. “This building has entrepreneurship baked into it…and that’s kind of exciting,” Attig says.
Besides acting as a shared workspace, Corvallis Foundry hosts events throughout the month. Groups are able to use the Foundry to hold events. In May alone the Foundry hosted four events, with one being the grand opening of the new space. Other events have included a Women in Tech Happy Hour, and Corvallis Creatives and Incahoots, a microfunding event modeled after a similar project in Detroit. The attendance for the events ranges from 25-70 participants. When asked if the events have been successful so far, Attig mentions that, “I gauge success…on the connections that are made and the longer term results of what we’re able to accomplish.”
Looking towards the future
With the shared workspace at around 65-75% at capacity, there is still room to grow. There is a part-time staff of two people that are currently able to assist community members and groups looking to use the foundry space. Attig hopes that as the foundry grows, they will be able to have full-time employees.
If you are an entrepreneur or freelancer looking for a centralized location to work from, a professional who wants to see what other people are up to, the Corvallis Foundry is a hidden gem. The next great ideas may just come from one of the many events or over a cup of coffee with someone in the Great Hall.
By Erica Johnson