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Co-working space brings community to its new Port Moody location

The Fountainhead Network had to look for a new home after its lease expired at its former Port Coquitlam site.
Mike Arboit and Erin Scarlett have moved their Fountainhead Network co-working space to Site B in Port Moody.

The founders of the Fountainhead Network like to say their co-working space is more a community than a collection of desks and computer monitors where people can edit video, balance the books and check emails.

So it’s little surprise when Mike Arboit and Erin Scarlett were facing the possible demise of their four-year-old enterprise late last year because renewing the lease at their Port Coquitlam location would be prohibitively expensive, it was their community that came to the rescue.

The Fountainhead has relocated to the upstairs mezzanine at the Site B event space in Port Moody (3012 Murray St.).

It was one of its members, photographer Chris Chong of Butter Studios, who made the connection with Site B co-founder Chris Peacock that led them to their new home.

Arboit said it was a serendipitous first meeting.

Fountainhead had a community of creative people and entrepreneurs who needed a place to hang out and get work done and Site B’s mezzanine hadn’t yet realized its full potential as Peacock and his crew concentrated on keeping the downstairs event space busy.

“He had a community hub and we brought a community with us,” Arboit said.

Scarlett added, “For us, it was a best-case scenario.”

The couple — partners in life as well as business — embarked on their own entrepreneurial dream just before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.

And while the demise of the traditional work dynamic of spending the day in an office before clocking out at 5 p.m. to head home sparked by public health restrictions might have seemed fortuitous for Fountainhead’s business plan, it’s the sense of community they managed to cultivate through those difficult early days that’s kept many of its 150 members loyal through the ensuing years.

Scarlett said once the novelty of working from home wore off, many entrepreneurs and independent business people found themselves craving the connections and collaboration that could occur in an office setting. But they weren’t necessarily missing the drama and politics that often accompany office life.

Fountainhead defined its role even more by building spaces specifically designed to attract digital creators, like a green screen studio for vloggers and small-scale video productions as well as a recording studio for podcasters.

Facilitators — some of them members who could offset part of their monthly fee by putting in hours at the desk — helped bridge the gap between creative professionals like photographers and videographers and the more business-oriented regulars like realtors, marketers and accountants.

The result, said Arboit, was “something people want to be a part of.”

Many of the disparate members who come from as far away as Langley have become friends, even staying after they’ve finished their work just to hang out, share ideas, maybe even embark on collaborative projects.

Site B’s downstairs event space that includes several lounging chairs, picnic tables, a games areas and even a refurbished old Airstream trailer will cultivate those connections even further, said Scarlett.

“When you come here, you’re surrounded by people who have the same challenges,” she said. “We all need each other.”

To find out more about Fountainhead Network and even book a tour of their new digs, you can check out its website.