The Candy Factory: Transforming The Way People Work

By Candy Factory Member Jocelyn Park

Working at The Candy Factory is sweet. It is a space and a place that has allowed small businesses and startups to flourish over the past three years as well as introduced the Lancaster community to the benefits of coworking. Located within the old Kepple Candy Factory Warehouse, members are working at the office in a different way. Filled with creative businesses, freelance designers, event planners, insurance agents and accountants, to name a few, The Candy Factory is teeming with open-minded individuals embracing the idea of “Working Happy.” This year the focus of The Candy Factory is awareness about coworking and the benefits it provides individuals, small businesses and the Lancaster community.

A passionate social-enterprise founded by Anne Kirby, The Candy Factory was created as a social outlet, network and physical space where businesses and individuals can come together. The opportunity to provide low overhead and less risk for startups and small business owners is a main factor in creating Kirby’s coworking space. Members can obtain the self-employment lifestyle with the benefit of sharing a morning coffee or taking a lunchbreak with coworkers. It’s a place where ideas grow, connections are made and business opportunities may be sitting at the adjacent desk.

Designed to be a collaborative environment, Members enjoy an open floor plan, with three conference areas, kitchen space, business-grade wireless internet and print, copy and fax services. A few notable perks that provide the space with its creative energy are free hot coffee, the occasional fresh-popped popcorn and a Pandora soundtrack. Membership levels tailored to any use of the space, from drop-ins, to part-time, to full-time, with the ability to be flexible and accommodate every business and its needs. It’s more than a place to work, it’s more than a place to stop in and use their services or attend an event. It is a blooming community within which lies a strong sense of support, creativity, networking, enterprise and collaboration. It is a place where ideas are formed, nurtured and grown.

The past three years have seen sustainable and successful growth for The Candy Factory, with the addition of one more coworking space for permanent Members and a cafe. Located in the heart of Downtown, Groundworks provides members a places to work, meet and collaborate. The newest member to the coworking family is Commonwealth On Queen, a cafe which will feature fresh and local foods, pop-up dinners and event space. Members of The Candy Factory and Groundworks will enjoy discounts and internet access and another convenient space for business meetings.

With focus on community, creativity and collaboration, many Members are seeing and feeling the success of coworking. Ryan Shultz and Irene Mouchlizis of Four16 have enjoyed the life that is brought into the space and the ability to network and connect with other Members that has resulted in new clients and new business opportunities. Shultz is a part-time Member turned full-time, who brought Mouchlizis into the mix and now have enjoyed working at The Candy Factory for over a year. Moving from a small, dark office that was their every day, the coworking environment, its Members and its founder, welcome them into “The Office” every morning.

Matthew Lester, a local photographer, has seen his talents grow, given the opportunity to work on other forms of photography than his usual subject matter and collaborate with other businesses within The Candy Factory. The creative process is palpable, with his term the “cross-pollination” of ideas, Members like Lester have the ability to bounce ideas off one another. “There are people doing different things…everyone brings a different skill and a different idea to the same place,” Matt explains. He says it is a great way to “get other people’s ideas and perspective” on what you’re doing and how you can do it.

To mark the third anniversary of The Candy Factory, there will be an open house to tour the space, meet and mingle with a few Members and enjoy light refreshments. Take the opportunity to get a taste of what coworking is all about, view the redefined warehouse and find out more information how you can become part of the coworking initiative.

 

About The Author

Anne Kirby started her first design and marketing company in 1999. After feeling the effects of social isolation, she acknowledged the need for a collaborative community and started a social networking group called The Creative House of Lancaster in 2007. Anne founded her thriving coworking space, The Candy Factory, in 2010 after identifying the need amongst members for a shared collaborative workspace. Eventually moving into a larger space in 2014, the Candy Factory inhabits 14,000 square feet of space in the historic Lancaster Storage Company. Anne also opened Rock Candy, a second location coworking space at POD 2 on the Rock Lititz Campus in January of 2017. The Candy Factory and Rock Candy serve as coworking communities which provide professional yet relaxed work environments for people looking for creative, affordable ways to work. Her coworking spaces focuses on connecting members and building relationships while providing the means to grow personally and professionally. Additionally, Anne recently opened a social enterprise cafe called Perkup & Co. which employs disadvantaged city youth in collaboration with The Mix at Arbor Place. As well as running these three companies, Anne also facilitates an all women’s group called Kick-Ass Female Entrepreneurs and manages an online promotional platform called DO. that looks to connect Lancaster, York and Harrisburg businesses. Anne actively speaks locally to organizations like SCORE, Cultivate Lancaster, and others on the topic of coworking and cultivating community. Building a strong downtown business community is her mission and coworking is her passion!

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