After all the hard work of moving, a welcome from governor general designate David Johnston highlighted an evening full of conversation and laughter that echoed from the rafters of the loft-style café at the grand opening of the new Quarry Communications facility in St. Jacobs Sept 16.
The president of the University of Waterloo and incoming representative of the Queen congratulated Quarry CEO Alan Quarry, company president Ken Whyte, and all the members of staff as they opened their doors to the public.
Quarry, a marketing and branding organization that employs more than 100 people, recently moved from Waterloo to St. Jacobs – they now occupy the newly renovated Riverworks building. They couldn’t be more excited about their new digs.
“The building was cool to start with,” said Quarry creative director Jay Fournier, who was instrumental in the building’s new look. “You could tell that underneath all the things that had been added over the years that it just had cool bones and a history and a lot of wear and tear that was kind of beautiful.”
Quarry, established in 1973 as an advertising agency, had called the seven-story Allen Square building in Waterloo home for more than 20 years. The firm made the decision to relocate to the heart of St. Jacobs when its current lease expired and they faced a substantial increase in rent costs. After some negotiations surrounding the use of the entire building – the Riverworks building had been divided into retail units – the company breathed new life into a facility that at one time was used to manufacture felt, glue and even Olympia ice resurfacers.
“The history of manufacturing here was neat. It felt cool to be the first business of our kind in the building,” continued Fournier. “There were scars and dents and smashes in the floor. It shows that it had once been used to make tangible things – something that we like to be reminded of when our business doesn’t make necessarily tangible items. We stripped it back to reveal some of that good stuff and we didn’t make any attempts to try and hide it.”
Now that the dust has settled, members of staff at Quarry are unpacking their new offices and getting acquainted with the restaurants, shops and flavour of St. Jacobs. Fournier said that despite initial apprehension from surrounding business owners, the organization seems to be finding their place quite nicely.
“We feel a lot of privilege to be the next people to occupy this old space. With this design, we wanted to do right by the building and right by the town. There are a lot of great residents and a lot of great businesses and we are happy to be a part of it.”
Quarry now has offices in St. Jacobs, Toronto, Raleigh, NC, and San Jose, CA.