We figure the 10-year mark is a pretty good time to make some upgrades, so we’re taking this opportunity to announce some big changes for Volume One – changes not just for our staff, but to what our organization can offer this community. It all hinges on our relocation to a new facility in June, just about three blocks away from the space we’ve been in on Barstow Street since 2006. We’ve been building towards this move for a few years, and while we’ll have some new challenges, the new building – at 205 N. Dewey Street – will solve a whole slew of problems for us and create some major new opportunities. If you’ve seen our current space on Barstow you know it’s a fun and unique environment – but at this point we’ve pretty much shoe horned ourselves in there. We have no place for meetings and we’re renting a separate storage space for all our event gear. Getting it all under one roof with some room to grow will get us pointed in the right direction going forward.
ROOM TO GROW: Architect renderings show a (simplified) view of what our new space will look like. Our major partners in this renovation include Eau Claire firms SDS Architects, Rhom Construction, and RCU.
Our new space is currently being remodeled and will open in June. We’ll be right on the highly visible corner of Dewey and Galloway (near the Chamber of Commerce, the Green Tree, and the new Brent Douglas Artist Gallery). The building was built in 1871 and originally held the R.L. Meader Confection Company – it was a candy factory! Later in the 1900s it held a number of offices and retail establishments until it was remodeled most recently in 1983 as the home of the esteemed local firm SDS Architects. With our work on the space, which started just this January – we’ve taken the building back to a bygone era by opening up the floor plan considerably to allow more light and flow, exposing more of the historic brick, raising the ceilings up to their full fourteen feet, restoring the original hardwood floors, and adding back some windows and exterior awnings. All told it’s about 10,000 square feet of vintage carpentry. We’re excited about incorporating the history of the building into its future function as a busy office, store, and community center. Read on to discover what all we have in store for this place. It’s gonna be good. - Nick Meyer
205 N. Dewey Street, corner of Galloway & Dewey
When people learn of our new location, we’re often hearing “Oh, off the beaten path a bit, eh?” To that we say, “Actually, it’s going to be the new beaten path.” That’s because it’s already a great spot. It’s just feet from a beautiful stretch of the Chippewa River State Bike Trail and the Eau Claire River. A block South is the L.E. Phillips Memorial Public Library, and a couple shops North is the new Brent Douglas Artist Gallery. And ever since the 53 Bypass went in, Galloway Street has become the route of choice from the East and North sides to downtown. Plus, parking around our new building is a breeze, with plenty of on street spots up and down both Dewey and Galloway. Once you visit, it will all make sense...
If you’ve liked anything about the current store, you’re going to absolutely love The Local Store when it reopens at 205 N. Dewey Street in June. The entire concept and vision will be more complete than the current store. First, the actual retail space will be more than twice the size of the store now – with considerably more room for localized art prints, apparel, kids stuff, and gift items – along with our current selection of books and music. There will also be a separate area you can sit down with some of those books or grab back issues of Volume One, and an actual fitting room to try on a shirt or two. However, the biggest change comes with the addition of a full art gallery and multi-use space, which will dovetail in quite nicely with the store (more details on that at right). So the point is we’ll have a lot more space to get creative in. With The Local Store, gallery, and lounge, in total there will be more than 2,000 square feet open to the public. That’s compared to the current store that’s been squeezed into less than 600 square feet at the front of our existing office. Also, it will be much easier to find an on-street parking space. Or just ride your bike! We’re just a few feet from the trail. Watch for details on a whole grand re-opening weekend in June.
Perhaps one of the most exciting aspects of our move is the addition of a small art gallery/multi-purpose events space. Directly off the store and lobby, the room will be capable of any number of activities – art shows and receptions, in-store book readings or music performances, community discussions or film screenings, and more. It will be outfitted with a small sound system and digital projector/screen, and depending on the set-up will hold anywhere from 25 to 75 people or more. Just outside a side door, the room expands with a small, enclosed outdoor courtyard that can interact with the event space when weather is good. Soon after we open we’ll be announcing ongoing series events in each of the categories mentioned – art, music, literature, film, discussions, etc – with something happening in the space just about every week, and art openings/shows happening every other month. Live video broadcasts of many of the events will be hosted on VolumeOne.org, as well as archived for later viewing in a video podcast series. The space will also be available to outside groups for various community meetings, including access to wi-fi, sound/video, restrooms, a kitchen, and more, with a small reservation fee.
Eau Claire has a growing population of creative freelance workers – designers, consultants, programmers, writers, etc – who currently must work out of their homes or coffee shops whether they want to or not. And many would rather not. Following suit with a major trend in larger cities, Volume One is taking the lower level of our new building and opening WorkSpace – a creative co-working facility that provides many of the benefits of the modern Internet-cafe, with the professional working environment and community aspects of an office. The space will open in June and include an open area with desk space for roughly eight workstations, two small meeting rooms, a lounge area for socializing and collaboration, and a kitchen/break area that’s shared with the staff of Volume One. For a month-to-month membership fee, workers gain access to all these amenities with all utilities paid, plus high-speed wi-fi, coffee, printer, fax, storage, parking, and access to projector/screen and other fun stuff. It’s a great place to meet with clients, maybe make some friends, and actually be more productive thanks to the active, professional environment. Learn more and apply for first-come-first-serve membership at: VolumeOne.org/WorkSpace.
More and more local businesses and organizations are learning how important good design and quality creative work is for their short- and long-term success. With the extra space and rooms at our new location, we will finally be able provide the services our advertising clients and others have been asking us about for some time – design, photography, websites, copywriting, and more. We’ll now have conference rooms, a lobby area, a small photo studio, and we’re just finishing up hiring a brand new designer to add to our existing staff. We’ve already done a handful of projects for our clients over the past several weeks – in addition to the years of experience our staff already has in these areas. So if you’re in need of these sorts of creative services for your business or organization, give us a ring for more info – we’re ready to help out! Portfolios of past work are available, as well as a list of services offered.
With the spaces and amenities of our new facility, we’ll be launching the exploration of something we’re calling The Community Media Lab – essentially a series of periodic workshops and events that can help build a more media savvy population in the Chippewa Valley. While it’s a work-in-progress, the plan is to have three main components: education, networking, and production. On the educational side, we plan to hold quarterly classes hosted by local experts on modern multi-media topics including areas like blogging, photography, video production, design, social media, and more. In the networking realm, we’d host occasional get-togethers for locals to meet and share best practices with others interested in these sorts of topics. And as for production, we’d take our various spaces – with historic brick, high ceilings, wood floors, etc – and make them available as photo and video studios in various ways. This will all be achieved through partnerships with other local media and educational organizations.
We’re in the midst of launching a web-based software company that will also be housed in our new facility. Over the last couple years we’ve custom-built the sophisticated digital engine that runs our website. And in many ways, it runs the print publication too. It’s a type of content management system; the brain that holds – and makes very useful and attractive – the thousands of pieces of local information on events, venues, and restaurants, and makes interesting the thousands of stories, photos, videos and so much more. It’s called UpLight, and we’ve labored over making it so good for new and existing media organizations that we’re now planning to roll it out nationwide. Our first client on this system (besides ourselves!) is a weekly paper in the Duluth area, and we’re already in talks with media groups in other markets as well. Our hopes are to grow this company, hire additional staff, and make UpLight the CMS of choice for community-minded publishers everywhere.