Studio Dreamshare to open in Downtown Pembroke thanks to Win This Space Contest

Source link:  Article in the Pembroke Observer (Tina Peplinskie). 

Studio Dreamshare to open in Downtown Pembroke thanks to Win This Space Contest

Cameron Montgomery (centre), owner of Studio Dreamshare, was crowned the winner of Pembroke's Win This Space contest March 25. After the announcement she was joined by judges (from left) Sheldon Reiche, Dan Laverdure, Colleen Sadler and Mike Thompson. She plans to open her business at 18 Pembroke St. West on June 1. TINA PEPLINSKIE / OBSERVER AND NEWS

This summer Downtown Pembroke will be home to a new art studio and hub of artistic creativity called Studio Dreamshare.

The studio is the passion project of Pembroke native Cameron Montgomery, who after travelling extensively in the past decade making movies and sharing her own work internationally, has returned to her hometown to mentor the next generation of young artists.

She is the winner of Pembroke’s Win This Space contest, crowned the champion after she and four other finalists had a chance to pitch their businesses in a Dragon’s Den style extravaganza Grand Finale in front of four judges at Anthony’s Italian Grill on March 25. Serving as judges were Mike Thompson, Renfrew County Community Futures Development Corporation; Sheldon Reiche, Roy C. Reiche Lawyers; Dan Laverdure, EGM Insurance and PBIA board member and Colleen Sadler, Enterprise Renfrew County. Since January, they provided training sessions for the contestants, offered advice, reviewed and graded business plans and ultimately chose the winner.

Montgomery started the business two years ago and has been offering programming out of her own home and in various spaces she’s been renting, but it is time for Studio Dreamshare to grow and move to a permanent space.

After being announced as the winner, she admitted to being overwhelmed but thanked the City of Pembroke for offering the program.


Dan Laverdure (left), one of the judges of the city’s Win This Space contest announces the winner at the Grand Finale March 25 while Heather Salovaara, Pembroke’s economic development officer, looks on. TINA PEPLINSKIE / OBSERVER AND NEWS

“This is a great opportunity for young people,” she said after winning. “I’ve had this business for two years now but don’t think would have made the push to expand my business to downtown without this program. It’s an amazing opportunity.”

The idea behind the contest is helping to fill vacant spaces in Downtown Pembroke. The main prize of is six rent-free months on a two-year lease at a property of her choosing. After touring the available properties, Montgomery chose 18 Pembroke St. West, a space owned by Sleepwell Property Management. Since she already has a lot of the necessary business infrastructure in place, she is excited to prepare the space. She is envisioning a big open gallery space with furniture on wheels than can be easily fold into the background and be moved out of the way depending what event is taking place.

“It’s newly renovated by Sleepwell and just ready to go. It’s a beautiful spot, they’ve peeled back the walls, it has cathedral ceilings,” she said enthusiastically. “It’s going to be a really inspiring space for artists to come in and make music. There are so many talented people in the Valley but there isn’t really that place where people cam come and collaborate”

During her pitch Montgomery walked judges and those in attendance through her vision for Studio Dreamshare – exposed brick walls to showcase works of art by local creators and in the evening a space that sings with joyful energy of young people exploring music, art, painting, movement and creative writing. She also plans to offer community arts and culture events on weekends for all ages

and offer the space free to non-profit organizations.

“Having this space is going to provide the City of Pembroke with the kinds of cultural activities that just weren’t possible before with our existing space,” she said during the pitch. “I am so happy to be back in my hometown and providing that space. I believe in the cultural potential of Pembroke and I believe in our downtown.”

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The other businesses pitched by the finalists were for a store quality cannabis smoke ware aimed at women, a hobby and game shop, bakery and store focused on camping survival and emergency preparedness items which still plans to open in Downtown Pembroke.

Heather Salovaara, Pembroke’s economic development officer, thanked the property owners who offered up the spaces as well as the local businesses that contributed to the prize package which includes accounting and legal services, photography and videography, graphic design, conference registration and advertising, all aimed at helping the businesses succeed in the first year.

Properties included in the contest were offered by Conrad Pool of Sleepwell Property Management, Ashraf Arif of SynerCapital, who initially suggested the contest to Salovaara and Matt Bimm of Valley Property Shop, a new participant this year.

“Without willing property owners this contest would not be possible,” Salovaara said.

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