State College, PA - Centre County - Central Pennsylvania - Home of Penn State University

Q&A with Ellen Matis on Studio 1795, the new coworking and event space in Bellefonte

by on January 31, 2020 10:30 AM

To say that Ellen Matis has played an active role in Bellefonte since moving to the community in 2017 would be something of an understatement.

Matis launched her digital marketing agency, Hello Social Co., in town, becoming the first member of the Bellefonte SpringBoard business incubator. In the time since, she’s become director of SpringBoard and president of Downtown Bellefonte Inc., which, among other things, has organized the extremely popular Bellefonte Under the Lights waterfront dinner and the Winter Market.

In January, Matis and her husband, Sean Yoder (both of whom have been contributors to Town&Gown), opened a coworking and event space – Studio 1795 – at 127 South Allegheny Street. (The studio’s name is a reference to the year Bellefonte was settled.)

“We've partnered with both Downtown Bellefonte Inc. and Bellefonte SpringBoard to truly make this a collaborative community space,” she says.

Matis spoke with Town&Gown about what Studio 1795 brings to the community.

 

T&G: How did the idea for Studio 1795 come about?

Matis: Studio 1795 has actually been a long idea in the making. When I first moved to Bellefonte, the idea was to create a coworking space and Hello Social Co. simultaneously. I learned of SpringBoard, a coworking space and incubator that was opening in Bellefonte just a few weeks later, and decided to become a member. That worked out, because I ended up managing the space, which opened a lot of doors for me getting involved in the Bellefonte community.  

T&G: Studio 1795 will partner with SpringBoard. How are they different and how will the two complement one another?

Matis: The relationship between Studio 1795 and SpringBoard is a perfect fit, because SpringBoard's clients will come to the space to learn and develop their ideas. If they're a good fit for coworking, they can start to get their business idea in motion by becoming a coworking member with a Studio 1795 membership. Throughout the year, SpringBoard will host a variety of workshops geared towards new and existing business owners at the space. 

T&G: What drew you to this space at 127 South Allegheny Street?

Matis: The owners of the building we chose are heavily involved in downtown Bellefonte's revitalization efforts, and they really get what it means to create a space that people want to do business in. They reached out to me late in 2019 to let me know that their second-floor space was just too beautiful to be rented out as a one-bedroom apartment. When I stopped by to see it, that's when the studio plans really got set into motion: I knew immediately that I wanted to do something with the space. 

I knew that I wanted to create a space that catered to creative professionals: Artists, graphic designers, web designers and entrepreneurs that are embracing the digital age. The space has high ceilings and natural light, and overlooks some of the most gorgeous buildings in downtown Bellefonte. It's a really inspiring space to work out of. 

T&G: How many people will the coworking space accommodate? It’s still very early, but how much interest/activity have you seen so far?

Matis: We can fit about 15 coworkers at a time; however, we don't expect the space to be filled to capacity every day since most members will work just a couple of days per week here. We've seen a ton of traction on social media with people tagging friends that might like to try it out, so I think that we'll see quite a bit of activity. 

T&G: You’ve already lined up a number of workshops and community events. Please tell us what people can expect this month and in the months ahead.

Matis: We've had a wide variety of workshop instructors reach out to us to plan events that are all over the board. Ongoing each month, we'll have a Community Coffee Chat and Friday in the 'Fonte celebration with Downtown Bellefonte Inc. We also are hosting a stamped-cuff jewelry workshop with a local maker, a financial planning workshop, a self-care workshop, and there are others in the works as well. A full schedule of events can always be found on studio1795.com.

T&G: You’re also making the space available for private events, such as bridal and baby showers. How does the studio work with potential clients?

Matis: At the heart of why I opened the studio is that I consider myself to be a "community connector" of sorts. I love to work to help people find local businesses that fit their needs – and I work hard to keep it local. If we can find something for your party locally rather than ordering it on Amazon, we definitely want to. We'll work with any of our event renters to help them find florists, caterers, signage, and more.

We're also offering a lot of items for event clients to use within the space, too, if they want to take a more DIY approach – like tablecloths, vases, and more. 

T&G: Looking more broadly, what is it about Bellefonte? There are so many interesting things happening in the community these days.

Matis: I think the question really is, "why not Bellefonte?" I think that in the past, Bellefonte has been overlooked as a place to live, work, or raise a family – but in recent years, potential visitors and residents are really starting to see what a neat community this is. There are so many unique businesses here: Places to shop, eat, and have a craft beverage. We're close to anything you could ever need. And on top of that, more cool things just keep being planned here.

 

Mark Brackenbury is editorial director of Town&Gown.

 

Comments
Disclaimer: Copyright © 2020 StateCollege.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.