Plug and play.
The new owners of Sauvé House, at 176-178 Main Street East in Hawkesbury, make it sound easy– because Derek and Krissy Duval truly want it to be effortless for the new work force that they hope to attract to rent time-share office space or even to set up a small business.
Krissy can attest to the fact that the world of work has changed. A researcher for the federal government, she has been working from the couple’s Vankleek Hill home for the past two years. After they had purchased the Hawkesbury building and outfitted it as planned, she gave the space a try.
“It was such a relief the morning that I woke up and thought to myself: ‘I’m going to work at Sauvé House today.” She smiles as she says she had not realized what a refreshing change it would be to simply work somewhere else for a day.
The couple purchased the building late last year under the banner “Duval Ventures.” Since purchasing, they have updated light fixtures, painted office spaces and refinished a beautiful central staircase in the two-storey, circa-1888 brick building. New flooring has been installed throughout the upstairs and keypad locks have been installed in what they now refer to as the timeshare offices. Each office space has its own separate and secure internet access.
In all, the building contains two timeshare offices (with a third office under development) and five offices that can be rented full-time through a short-term or long-term lease and a board room.
In the basement, there is a self-contained office/workspace which is the width of the building. It feels like the perfect retreat for someone who needs a private studio or a secluded space in which to write a book. With exposed stone walls, soft lighting and its own heating and AC system, the unique office is perfect for someone who literally needs creative space, Derek says.
What is a timeshare office?
Timeshare offices mean you can book an office for a minimum of three days per month, or for as many days per month as you like.
“We know that people working from home might also want to work in a professional space even one day a week just to recharge their batteries. During the past two years, a lot of people have been working from home, set up on the dining room table during the day and not having the division of family time and work time can be tiring. This way, people can rent an office space and work from here even one day per week, take a walk downtown at lunch-time, go for a coffee and just enjoy the change of scenery,” Derek explained.
These flexible part-time rentals will be available to those who sign up as “members” for a modest monthly fee, says Derek. The couple is working on an online booking system and website which should roll out soon.
Derek has long been an advocate for small business. He was involved in the Vankleek Hill Business and Merchant Association’s downtown revitalization study several years ago and is currently one of two vice-presidents of the association. He is currently one of the four owners of a company which owns 27 High Street, which is home to two small businesses in Vankleek Hill. Derek manages the building. For that reason, the couple say they are flexible and will adapt to the needs of a business, with short-term lease offerings for those who need a space for a pop-up shop or to try out a business idea.
The couple can imagine the building being a hive of activity, with creators, and local employees meeting others who have been isolated in the recent move to work from home. They are also working at spreading the word about the board room, available as a way of getting employees away from their regular workplace to brainstorm about new ideas or formulate new business directions. The board room, which can comfortably accommodate six people, can be rented for the day or evening rentals are also possible between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. It comes complete with a Smart TV and four-by-eight dry erase board.
Plug ‘n’ Play
While a beautiful wood fireplace attracts your eye in one of the main-floor offices, a sit-stand desk, keyboard and monitor are at the ready. It could be the perfect place for a business owner or service provider to meet with clients.
The plug ‘n’ play idea means that you show up with your laptop, plug in, access the internet and get to work. Derek points out that there is a kitchenette at the rear of the building that includes a coffee machine for members and guests.
The upstairs offices are bright and airy, with two of the spaces boasting large bay windows looking out on Main Street.
Derek, who is a director of supply chain and IT at a local manufacturing company, says his job has been a challenge for the past two years.
“I have grown up in the area and I believe we need this type of business to attract and keep people in the area. We want to provide the tools to help them in their professional business,” says Derek, adding that they even offer a virtual business-address service for companies which need an Ontario business address. With so many people working from home and receiving deliveries, they note that there is little privacy when it comes to package delivery, or when people are looking up the business online. This way, someone can keep their business separate from their home address.
We accept the packages and mail and can forward mail, or if the customer wants, we can open mail, scan the contents confidentially and email it to them,” says Duval.
Derek and Krissy are currently offering tours of the building.
You can visit their Facebook page for Duval Ventures here to find out more about the building and see more photos. You can contact them for more information or book a tour by calling 613-677-2397 or email: [email protected].
About the building:
In 1888, a local farmer by the name of Benjamin Sauvé built a house for his family on Lot 5 in Hawkesbury. The building was acquired by Dr. Rutherford in 1908 and he ran his dental practice there for more than 50 years. The building would later serve as the Hawkesbury Public Library, the law offices of Langlois-Wilkins, a women’s clothing store owned by Louise Lacelle-Pépin, the offices of architectural firm Séguin-Racine and has been the home of many other businesses over the years.