Startup! Main St. In Springfield
There is a renaissance happening in downtown Springfield. Quietly, a thriving community of startups, entrepreneurs, and new businesses are helping to transform Springfield’s downtown Main St. area and beyond into an energetic hub of innovation and enterprise. The synergy that has come with the arrival of the new entrepreneurs has brought vitality and a surging sense of pride for businesses, both old and new in the downtown area.
The reasons that new startups have chosen Springfield are as diverse as these new companies that are starting to thrive from the Willamette River to Mid-Town. There are the normal reasons for choosing a location to start a company. The support of the City of Springfield, availability of affordable space and infrastructure like Springfield Station, the EMX bus station, are the most visible reasons for the growth of downtown. However; there is one main reason entrepreneurs and founders are flocking to Springfield. Community.
Who makes this community vibrant and growing? What are the reasons that so many entrepreneurs and founders are choosing to cross the river? Here are a few of the many answers to both questions.
Why Your Startup Should Consider Being In Springfield
CommunityLending Works is conveniently located at 212 Main St. Its goal is to fund startups and businesses that have direct economic impact on the community. They offer technical assistance and business development services to ensure their borrowers are successful.
“CLW has embraced the startup community. We have helped several businesses in Springfield open their doors- most of which are our neighbors. Financing startup businesses is critical to creating and retaining jobs locally and helps improve the vibrancy of Springfield’s economy.” – Maia Hardy, Loan Officer at CommunityLending Works
Fertilab moved into its space at 138 Main St. to give entrepreneurs a place in Springfield to receive mentoring, a host of accelerator programs and co-working space. Geared specifically for entrepreneurs who want to build a startup into a sustainable business. Fertilab and its startup cohort have put $4 million into the local economy and created over 30 jobs.
Booth Kelly Makers District is made up of a group of startups, entrepreneurs and craftsmen in and around downtown Springfield and the Booth Kelly Mill complex. This coalition of businesses offers monthly meetups for local craft industry entrepreneurs to share ideas and network. The Booth Kelly Makers District’s members strongly support entrepreneurship and startups and their crafts.
Sprout! Regional Food Hub is located just off of Main St. at 418 A St. Sprout! is part of the Neighborhood Economic Development Corporation (NEDCO). Sprout!’s mission is to help innovative, creative food professionals build their food startups into successful businesses in Springfield and throughout Lane County. Their resources include a state of the art kitchen and bakery space, business advising and workshops and promotional outreach. Currently, Pig & Turnip and La Granada Latin Kitchen are tenants that are providing high-quality food for lunch and dinner in the Sprout! food court. If you are an entrepreneur focused on a food sector business, Sprout! provides excellent support and resources to help ensure your success.
Innovators and Entrepreneurs
Urban Lumber Company is not only a Springfield success story but also an international success story. The company was founded by Seth San Filippo with a clear mission to provide artisanally crafted furniture and lumber out of salvaged urban timber. The company’s signature “modern rustic” style of products helps keep countless board feet of wood out of local landfills every year. The company’s values of urban forest stewardship, sustainability, and superior craftsmanship have helped build Urban Lumber Company into one of Springfield’s premiere entrepreneurial enterprises.
The Smith Factory brought their environmental design sensibilities and cutting-edge fabrication technologies to downtown in 2010. The company is focused on new technologies to manufacture designs and art that are both functional and beautiful. They have helped many artists, entrepreneurs, and designers turn their visions into realities. The modern, fully equipped fabrication and design studio is an integral member of the Booth Kelly Makers District and a valuable resource for the growing startup community in Springfield.
Campfire Collaborative is an architecture and design firm co-founded by Jenna Fribley and Kelsey Buzzell. They believe that every design should always tell a story. To them, everything is a design opportunity. This means that Campfire Collaborative specializes in variety. Their love for the challenge of unique projects allows for a combination of storytelling and creative problem solving skills to create engaging architectural design, interior environments, visual media, products, experimental/temporary installations, and anything else that you can dream.
Jenna and Kelsey said; “We chose downtown Springfield for our studio because were excited to be a part of the downtown revitalization effort and we wanted to be located along the EmX line. Planning works!”
Celeste Watch Company is one of the newest businesses on Main Street. Celeste has been making and selling uniquely designed, handcrafted watches for two years around the area. She opened her workshop and storefront in May 2017 to have a permanent home to showcase her one of a kind watches. Owner Celeste Wong said she came to downtown Springfield because; “I believe in the spirit of the makers district and I wanted to be a part of the revitalization of downtown.”
Food and Drink
There are a number of excellent restaurants and bakeries continues to grow in and around Main St. Here are a few of the great eateries that have in recent years chosen to locate in downtown Springfield.
Planktown Brewing Company opened in 2013 and was one of the first new anchor businesses in downtown. The brewery produces a multitude of malty beverages that are served either at its trademark horseshoe shaped bar or one of its unique tables. If beer isn’t your forte they also serve cocktails and wine. Be sure to pair your beverage of choice with some of their signature Northwest-style cuisine. A startup itself, Planktown is a Springfield success story.
The Washburne Café is located in the historic Springfield Armory Building. The café features espresso drinks, pastries, breakfast items and a light lunch menu. With a wide-open, very modern layout it is a place where people meet to share ideas or brainstorm. It is also a great place to work remotely and get re-energized with a chai tea latte or a cappuccino.
The 100 Mile Bakery was one of the first anchor businesses in Sprout! Their baked goods use only locally sourced ingredients, further emphasizing how much great food there is locally. You can enjoy sitting outside the historic church building with a scone or a piece of quiche in the morning and come back for one of their numerous lunch offerings. 100 Mile Bakery is the perfect place to enjoy the highest quality baked goods. The bakery has become the locals’ favorite.
The Abbey is Claim 52 Brewing’s taproom in the Sprout! building. The friendly confines of the taproom provide a comfortable place to enjoy Claim 52’s signature brews and root beer in the afternoon and evening. During the warm weather months, the courtyard is a great place to enjoy the evening breeze while you wind down from the day. The Abbey has quickly become a favorite gathering place for founders, business leaders and entrepreneurs to exchange ideas in a relaxed setting over their favorite beverage.
Mezza Luna Pizzeria made the jump over the bridge into Springfield a few years back. The pizzeria filled the void from the lack of pizza in the Main St. area with its signature New York style thin crust pizzas and calzones. You can always grab a quick slice or order your own pie to take back to the office or workshop. Voted a Eugene’s best pizza year after year, Mezza Luna and its pizza have become a central anchor on Main St. in Springfield.
There are many excellent restaurants and eateries in downtown Springfield. If you would like to know more click here.
The Richard E. Wildish Community Theater is Springfield’s hub for arts and entertainment. Opened in 2006 as a part of the Springfield Renaissance Development Corporation vision for the downtown area’s revival. The theater currently hosts numerous concerts, plays, movies and a host of other special events. Experience some of the best entertainment in the Willamette Valley up close because there isn’t a bad seat in the house.
Escape The Room Oregon is one of the most interactive fun spots in Springfield. Escaping the room is a lively exercise in reasoning and teamwork as your group solves puzzles, seeks clues and finds secret messages to achieve freedom in the allotted time. There are three differently themed rooms, each providing its own unique challenges. Located in the Booth Kelly Building it is easy to schedule a time for you and some friend or your team to spend an hour in one of the themed puzzle rooms. Escape The Room Oregon provides a fun team building exercise for startups and established companies.
Vino and Vango has two things everyone loves – art and wine. This lively business became a part of the downtown Springfield community in 2010. Its business model is simple: everyone paints the thing and has a blast doing it. You can bring your own hors d’oeuvres and beverage and spend a few hours putting your own artistic spin on a classic. Sneak out early and build camaraderie amongst your team members one afternoon or have a very memorable date night at a business that typifies Springfield’s revitalization.
- Springfield Museum displays its permanent collection as well as rotating exhibits about the life and history of the city. The museum gives life to the vibrant past of Springfield.
- Emerald Art Center has been around for over 60 years. In that time they have supported the local art scene by providing classes and exhibitions. The force behind Friday Art Walks and other events to bring art to downtown Springfield, Emerald Art Center is always a great place to spend some time.
Give Springfield A Try
The mix of new startups and mature, anchor businesses in the downtown area continues to grow. The availability of financial and advisory resources, as well as affordable space, are why downtown Springfield’s startup community continues to grow and thrive. RAIN Eugene and Fertilab will continue to support the growth of this innovative business and makers community. Take the time to see for yourself what is happening on Main St. in Springfield.