Creators of Toronto | East Room

By BrainStation September 7, 2016

What is East Room?

East Room is a boutique co-working office and event space located in Toronto’s bourgeoning Riverside neighbourhood. Our co-working club caters to forward-thinking freelancers, creative professionals and small businesses. Our dynamic community of members includes of of the city’s most creative minds working in the fields of technology, art and design. East Room provides the ideal environment for these like-minded individuals to collaborate, share ideas and merge their talents.

How did the East Room start?

Brothers Samuel and Derreck Martin started East Room. In Toronto there aren’t a lot of boutique businesses, specifically boutique social environments. The ones that do exist cater more to the tech community. Toronto is a huge city with a lot of culture, but there are a lot of things that haven’t been done the way we see them in Los Angeles and New York, for example. They were in a position where a number of things aligned, making them realize that they had the capability to build out the space the way they wanted to. Initially they were interested in aesthetic; their main priority was building something out the way they wanted to. That’s what they were the most excited about. They realized through a general market study of the city co-ops that they did look at, even though they were great, that the idea hadn’t been fully flushed out the way it should be. So a little over a year ago, they were looking into different ideas in to what the space could be; possibly a hotel, a club, there were a lot of ideas but in terms of something that had longevity and a positive impact on the city, the co-working space gave the opportunity to package that all into one.

What have you found to be the most successful marketing tactic to build the brand?

Our most successful marketing tactics have really been word of mouth and attention from our events. East Room has worked hard to foster a community of creatives that work well in collaboration and alongside each other, and finding the right individuals to fill the space has been organic for the most part. Our Room Service events brought a lot of attention to the space in terms of publicity and curiosity as well. It was really just focusing on non-aggressive marketing to allow for a genuine group of people to come together.

And the most challenging?

The most challenging thing was doing this naturally at first. The beginning was a bit rough, with only two members in the space. As time passed and more bodies came through the space, people fell in love with the environment and now we’re capped and working on a second floor!

What’s a typical day like at East Room?

It’s different for every member- that’s the great thing about a co-op working space. No day is the same! Our routines mostly revolve around a loose schedule of coffee and working lunches. Beyond that, the members, inquiries and events we’re working around really determine what our days are going to look like.

What is your favourite Toronto Restaurant?

Imanishi Japanese Kitchen and Bar! It’s pretty far West in relation to East Room, but we love the mouth watering tapas style dishes and the warm service. It’s a small place and the front opens up, making it a great spot in the summer.

What are some things you’re currently working on for East Room?

We’ve got some really great events coming up with our Room Service programme. The first floor renovations are coming along quicker than expected, so we’re extremely excited for the fall. In collaboration with Ian McGrenaghan and Colin Tooke from Grand Electric, we’ve got a restaurant coming to the West side of East Room. Aside from that, mostly just getting some more programming going for our members. Oh! And we’re focusing on building out an independent cinema that will showcase local and international films… Stay tuned on that one.

How can people sign up for your space?

On our website there is a form submission where you can leave your name and email address and we will contact you shortly after with some further information. From there, we ask that you indicate what type of membership you are interested in and we set up a walk through of the space. At that point, we then add you to our waiting list- there will be more memberships available once the first floor opens up- renovations have been moving way ahead of schedule, so that should be pretty soon.

What’s next for East Room?

We have plans to expand so the entire building is East Room and not just the second floor. This will allow our community to grow and will enable more aforementioned collaborations and creativity amongst our members. We are also expanding quite swiftly! So we want to turn East Room into more of a permanent fixture… in addition to our music events, we’re looking at doing a fine art residency program. We have a restaurant in the works and we’re undergoing a massive redevelopment of the first floor of the building right now. It will be about 20,000 sq. ft. and a large 3,500 sq. ft. lounge space that will double up as an event space. This event space has been used a couple of times this summer, pre-final product. So there’s a lot of expansion down the pipeline.