“It’s not the looks that count. It’s what’s on the inside that really matters.”
Usually this phrase is applied to young bachelors and bachelorettes in pursuit of a relationship. But as the daughter of a realtor, I’ve heard it used a number of times in reference to homes and commercial buildings. Amongst my favorite real estate euphemisms: “This home is simply charming!” and “This building has so much potential.” Basically, these phrases are used in place of “This place could be really cool…but it’s not.”
Welcome to our humble abode: Eastworks
One thing that immediately impressed me when walking into my first interview was Atalsoft’s physical work environment. I’m not just talking about the office itself, but rather our habitat in the Eastworks building. I mean, our office is pretty awesome and stuff (and I’ll most likely take you on a virtual tour at some point – after I complete my current Office Beautification project). But we’re also part of an eclectic collection of small businesses housed inside this unique and historic space. Eastworks has it all: funky-cool local businesses on the inside, retro-modern awesome looks on the outside.
Some of our first floor residents (Easthampton has a thing for bears…)
3 months in and still fascinated by my workspace, I decided to do some research.
*****Cue Sepia-toned flashback sequence*****
The West Boylston Textile Company
The Eastworks building was established on the banks of Lower Mill Pond in 1899 as the West Boylston Textile Company. Its founding was merely a small piece of the much larger Industrial Revolution, which began sweeping the nation in the 1820s and hit Easthampton in 1847 in the form of the Williston-Knight Button Company. The two factories, in addition to another cloth mill called The Hampton Company, played an important role in the urbanization of the once strictly agricultural town. Their success beefed up the population, largely due to the influx of Polish and Canadian immigrant workers, and sparked the development of several schools and churches. Simultaneously, the mill environment encouraged the growth of smaller business and community-based services (like the library, town hall, and a national bank).
Frank Stanley Beveridge and his cornerstone
In 1931, Frank Stanley Beveridge and wife Catherine O’Brien took over the factory complex with their business, Stanley Home Products. The first floor of the building housed their production lines; laboratory testing took place on the third floor, and freight delivery was in the basement (the use of the second floor is still a mystery to me!). The company produced high-quality cleaning products, such as cleaning solutions, brushes, and mops, and went on to become pioneers in home party demonstrations (you know, like Tupperware parties). Stanley Home Products is still around today, but obviously not here in the Eastworks building – their headquarters are now in Agawam.
A little bit of Then and Now…
The first floor (a little more colorful now…hah!)
The third floor (check out our shiny new floor!)
The old StanHome building was purchased in 1997 by private developer Will Bundy, who had the intention of converting the factory into a mixed-use community building. And that’s exactly what he produced!
*****End of historical montage*****
Eastworks is now home to over 85 individual businesses in industries ranging from food and entertainment, to the arts, healthcare, non-profit, and more. You can go to the 1st floor to get yo hair did at The Lift, then grab a burger from Riff’s Joint or a quesadilla from Apollo Grill, work off those calories at Renew Pilates Studio on the 2nd floor, buy some sweet SDKs from us on the 3rd floor, and then go take an afternoon nap in your cozy-chic loft apartment on the 4th floor. (Check out the full business directory here.)
Two of Eastworks’ artsier tenants, The Invisible Fountain and Pioneer Valley Ballet
This building literally has everything you could possibly need. When the Zombie Apocalypse inevitably occurs, just go down to the basement to borrow some metal from the blacksmith or various sculptors, use it to board up all the windows, and you’ll be set for weeks!
Kinda like this!
But seriously. This is the coolest building ever. I love that I can point it out while driving by with family and friends and go “Yeah. I work there.” BOOYAH!