Chapelle co-founded Aligned Collective with Zanny Venner, who is just as passionate about the Squamish employment environment as Chapelle.
Aligned is a co-working centre in downtown Squamish (201-38085 2nd Ave.) that offers secure and flexible access to a variety of workplace settings. Coworking spaces focus on helping small businesses in Squamish connect with each other and flourish.
“The growth of Squamish has been very rapid, and the development has been high density residential in most places,” says Chapelle. “When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, many small residences and families found they were struggling to find space and meet the new online demand for connectivity”
What Aligned Collective offers is a choice of workspaces ranging from shared to private and dedicated.
There are separate common and boardroom areas that can be booked for client meetings, which can be staged under current social distancing recommendations.
Open 24/7, users can choose from an array of ways to use the facility - from daily drop-in to monthly use.
The concept of Aligned Collective has taken a while to catch on as the local work sector grew and adapted.
“It was a struggle in the beginning,” Chapelle says. “When we first opened, very few people understood the concept of co-working. That type of workspace could only be found in larger, more urban communities.”
While it was a challenge to educate the community on Aligned Collective’s benefits, Chapelle was ready.
“Fortunately or unfortunately, I am no stranger to startup culture. My first business in Squamish was one of the first integrative healthcare clinics in the Sea to Sky corridor,” Chapelle says.
Now, even though there are still challenges for the business, Chapelle says the community has changed to include many more workers who may not have the financial capacity to afford their own workspace, let alone a home.
“There are many people who live out of their vans in the Squamish area,” Chapelle says. “Without resources in the community, having a space to connect is important to building a healthy startup culture”.
Among those spending time at Aligned Collective are filmmakers, graphic designers, social workers, insurance brokers, social media experts and a good share of University instructors from not just Canada, but the U.S.
“The Pandemic has driven many to come here for the outdoor lifestyle,” Chapelle says.
“This was such an essential need in the community for individuals who required desk space, but couldn’t afford all the amenities, taxes, Internet access, local coffee and tea, and other infrastructure we offer,” Chapelle says.
“And if you have been at home with your family or partner for extended periods of time during the pandemic, being able to get out to work can be a welcome change that allows you to be out and connect with your community in a safe, clean, quiet space.”
For more information about how you can benefit from some personal or shared workspace, visit alignedcollective.ca.