Company Launches Canada’s 1st Coworking Facility for Ecommerce Brands in Vancouver: Interview

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A unique and innovative co-working facility built specifically for ecommerce brands has launched in Vancouver to help them grow their business.

ECOMsquare, a bi-level, 7,000-square-foot space at 1758 West 8th Ave., was established by JIBE, which helps brands elevate their ecommerce business.

“It’s been a journey over the last year prepping for the launch of our space. Our event activations over the fall were amazing confirmation that our community is eager to collaborate and build ecommerce businesses in this city. We’re looking forward to welcoming early-stage ecommerce business owners and practitioners,” said Steve Krueger, founder and CEO of JIBE and ECOMsquare.

JIBE has worked with brands such as 7mesh, Arc’teryx, Sugoi and Organika. The company started in 2009.

Image: ECOMsquare

“We help facilitate in building up their infrastructure and operation and we essentially become the ecommerce department for some of the smaller brands that we work with and we work on special projects to help implement and expedite their builds,” said Krueger. “We work with vendors like BigCommerce, Shopify and Magento on the technology side.

“It’s been an amazing journey for us.”

ECOMsquare offers business memberships via an á la carte menu and provides all the necessary elements for running a successful small-scale ecommerce business: photo studio with lighting, cameras and backdrops, small-scale pop-up spot for product launches or retail events, a podcasting sound booth, a small-scale storage facility for inventory, a community clubhouse for networking (accessible for all members), plus meeting space, workstations, bike storage, parking and showers.

Community memberships are $59 per month and provide access to reserve amenities and the community clubhouse, while space membership pricing starts at $459 a month for full access. All members have unique access to the ECOMsquare app, which allows for easy booking for meeting rooms, workstations, events, equipment and more. Additionally, the app provides Wi-Fi support, location details, a public events calendar, and customer support all in one place.

The idea has its roots in 2014 with a group called ECommerce Vancouver with events, conferences and meetups with the sole purpose of creating a community and being able to share information between small business owners who were just starting their business to mid-level or enterprise level businesses.

“We did those pretty much for six years . . . We did them all throughout the city and then we started doing them down in Seattle, Portland, San Diego, Chicago, Boston and then we were going to do Toronto and New York but COVID ended up happening,” said Krueger.

“ECOMsquare is kind of the product of a lot of the problems that we ended up hearing throughout the years through those events. We looked at a  lot of the pain points of scaling a small business up to a certain size and having that support structure for SMBs. A lot of people were solopreneurs so they were working by themselves, they had no co-workers, or they couldn’t hire anybody. They had no outlet for networking, no option for sharing their problems and also looking for solutions for those.

Image: ECOMsquare

“The other problem on the other side is that once you start scaling a business you start to procure systems and processes in tooling that help either create or expedite a more personable experience to the end customer or a greater or higher quality of that engagement . . . We looked at capex exposure for these brands and we wanted to address how do we subsidize that cost while creating an ecosystem to help support these early stage small business owners. So ECOMsquare was our place where we can put all of that underneath the same roof. We have the content studios where you can do your photography and video for your products, we have a little small self fulfillment storage, we have Canada Post right across the street from us so you can do all your shipping and pick and packing for your product and we have our co-working space which is mostly a community space for business owner to talk about their ideas and their challenges.”

For more information or to book a membership, visit Find images of the space HERE.

Shawn O’Neill of SpeedSense, an eCommerce website performance consultancy in Vancouver, said ECOMsquare is a “no-brainer home base for up-and-coming D2C brands in Vancouver.”

“Where else could you possibly find office space, boardrooms, a photo studio and warehousing, all under one roof, with a postal depot next door? Great vibe in the environment, in a great location,” he said.

“ECOMsquare inspires our company to drive forward, and the space enables us to move steps forward each day,” said Aaron Laslo, CEO of Cando, a green technology company based in Vancouver with a presence in Helsinki, Finland, and Austin, Texas. “We can engage with our team in a productive environment and collaborate with like-minded technology startups and entrepreneurs.”

Article Author

Mario Toneguzzi
Mario Toneguzzi
Mario Toneguzzi, based in Calgary, has more than 40 years experience as a daily newspaper writer, columnist, and editor. He worked for 35 years at the Calgary Herald covering sports, crime, politics, health, faith, city and breaking news, and business. He is the Senior National Business Journalist with Retail Insider in addition to working on his own as a freelance writer and consultant in communications and media relations/training.

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