The Grand Opening Speech I Should Have Made


The MinorOak Grand Opening happened on September 1st after a rush to get the space finished enough to use. And it is!

Two hours before the party, the mitre saw was still in the hall and we were trying to figure out how to arrange the furniture to cover the unfinished edges of the floating floor. So it’s no wonder that when I said a few words and made a toast, I hadn’t really thought about what to say!

Honestly, I’m not sure what came out of my mouth, although Steve Edwards took a fantastic shot of the moment.

Here’s the speech I’d have given if I had taken the time to prepare…

Thanks so much for coming! As you can see, the space is almost finished. I can hardly wait to get some art onto the walls and… well, some knobs onto the doors.

 

This has all happened very fast. The lease was submitted six weeks ago, and here we are. We’ve got rooms under the mezzanine, a kitchenette, toilets, a utility sink, and enough electrical outlets for a small army of laptop users!

 

Credit Howard Hartley, electrician extraordinaire, with the finished work. Howard has also been acting as general contractor, and his colleagues have been fantastic: all you electricians and joiners and Franklin the plumber: thank you! And thank you so much, Howard. As someone who has only lived in Nottingham for a year, the quality and speed of this work is beyond what I could have hoped for.

 

The uncompleted work is thanks to me. I’ve been trying to keep things in budget by DIYing the finishes. As you can see, I’m not covered in plaster dust anymore, but I will be in my painting clothes again next weekend.

 

If I’d been working alone, I never would have been able to get the space into the almost-done shape it’s in now. Wonderful people have been helping me and just as important, making the work fun! Thank you, Bryan, David, Elin, Isi, Remi and Victoria!*

 

They helped build MinorOak and you may see them around if you come try it out!

 

Thanks to Lucy, Kathy, Jane, Steph and the rest of the team at Creative Quarter and Sneinton Market, too. Thanks for approving the business plan, believing in the concept and being so supportive, not just as representatives of the landlord, but as friends.

 

Coworking is no longer a new idea in the UK. London has hundreds of coworking spaces, and other large British cities are catching up. However, I’m pretty sure MinorOak is the first community-oriented, industry inclusive, hotdesking-based coworking space in Nottingham. I hope the space and the community will be a resource and a benefit to some of Nottingham’s almost 50,000 one-person businesses and to remote workers and start-ups, as well.

 

When I was living in Glasgow and joined Collabor8te, it helped me grow my business and made me a happier person. It is a dynamic place full of helpful, supportive and brilliant people. I hope MinorOak will be the same kind of place. (And Teresa Jackson, the owner of Collabor8te is here. Thank you so much for coming!)

 

To the success of MinorOak and all its members! Cheers!!!

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*More about MinorOak’s first members (and Bryan):

Bryan Miller: Disappointed that his full time job as a research biochemist does not require enough manual labour, my husband Bryan has been moonlighting as a painter, cleaner and cork-tiler at MinorOak after work. Thanks, Bryan!

David Hunter: David has come over to visit from The Nottingham Mechanics Institute several times and has been a great help. Thanks, David!

Elín Traustadóttir: Elin has advised on the interior design, installed flooring, painted… she has made a huge contribution. Thank you, Elin!! Her portfolio is here and her LinkedIn profile is here.

Isi Dixon: Isi of Well Organised Marketing is a content marketing specialist and decorating perfectionist. Thank you, Isi, for your expert painting, work on the acoustic draping and everything else you’ve done to help!

Remi Solarin: Remi is an architect and designer who’s developing a creative toy and furniture kit; it’s almost at the manufacturing stage. His portfolio is here. He is responsible for installing much of the beautiful cork flooring and acoustic draping. Thanks so much, Remi!

Victoria McDonagh: Victoria of V McDonagh Consultancy is a content marketer and freelance blogger. She was a huge help with the fit-out and especially with the Grand Opening; as the daughter of pub owners, she’s a catering native! Thanks, Victoria!

What do you think?