Within the past year, the North Shore of Staten Island has seen somewhat of a boom in creative, new businesses. The large buildings and warehouse spaces prove to be excellent habitats for emerging entrepreneurs.
Opening in December, Tech Box offers private and semi-private workspaces for technology-driven minds to gather and work on projects. The company operates out of a renovated warehouse on Clinton Street, in the Stapleton section of the island. Owner John Salis is also the man behind the Staten Island Arts Building, just a block away, which has hosted gallery openings, shows, open-mic nights and other arts-related programing. His vision is to provide the already tight-knit artist and creative community with places to come together and flesh out their ideas.
[Tech Box. Photo source: dnainfo.com]
Another newly-formed creative enterprise is Staten Island MakerSpace, also located in Stapleton on Front Street. Scott Van Campen operated a metalworking business for twelve years before the building was damaged by Hurricane Sandy. The fixed-up space now offers cubicles for independent work, as well as group workshops in welding, woodworking, sewing, and other crafts. Van Campen is an advocate for hands-on projects and modeled the facility to promote a collaborative working environment.
[S.I. MakerSpace. Photo source: nycedc.com]
Mayor Bill de Blasio and Borough President James Oddo have both pointed to Staten Island's North Shore as a potential hub for tech and small business growth. According to Crain's of new York, "The island, especially the North Shore, has some of the least expensive commercial space left in the five boroughs and a broadband infrastructure that is among the best in the nation." Staten Island was the first borough to be fully wired for Verizon FiOS fiber and currently ranks second-fastest in the nation in terms of average connection speed.