New Business Looks to Change Work in Thunder Bay

Story by Kris Ketonen, Photos by @DanGarrityMedia

A new co-working space in Thunder Bay aims to change how the city works. The Vault on Red River opened its doors in May. Inside, you’ll find much of what you’d expect in any regular office building: boardrooms, telecommunications suites, and a receptionist. But owner Scott McNab says the similarities end there—what’s different inside the Vault is the way those things are used.

“I had an office at home, like everybody else who runs a small business,” McNab says. “It kept being interrupted by growing kids, and I wasn’t going to build another office or another space in my home just to accommodate more work. I was trying to get more work done out of home, so that dad wasn’t always busy.” The answer, McNab says, was a co-working space, which offers a number of services, scaling up from a corporate suite address and phone number.

“If you need a place to sit down, put your laptop down, five, six, seven hours a month, just to have a place to get out of the house, or you’re in from out of town and you just need a place to go to work?” he says. “Laptop down, here’s your wifi password. Everything else is à la carte. We’ve got printers and scanners and teleconference suites, all available by the page, by the sheet, by the hour.” Desks and offices are also available longer-term, McNab says, and the board room and other areas can be rented for functions, product launches, or meetings. Future plans include a coffee shop, a gym, a steam room, and a training room.

“You can present yourself as a professional—not in your basement, not in your home office,” McNab says. “There’s actually some legitimacy to it. The concept of a co-working space, and having relationships with people who are in the same genre as you, the same place in business, is so helpful.”