There’s a buzz of activity during the typical day at the Candy Factory in Lancaster, which is hosting a Community Festival on Friday.
A nutritionist and a tour manager for a rock band might be discussing a healthy new recipe. A photographer might be touching up some work before heading to a monthly meeting for female entrepreneurs. A web application developer might be recording a music podcast before attending the Candy Factory’s regularly scheduled writer’s meeting, Write Now. Or a transplanted actor from New York might be rehearsing some lines before heading to a Candy Factory Chill Club night happy hour on the sixth floor of the building’s tower.
Luckily, the Candy Factory campus is expanding. The Studio at Candy Factory — the former space of a rehabilitation center located directly across from the parking lot of the original space — adds another 13 offices, two conferences rooms a brainstorming area nicknamed the “war room” with dry-erase boards for walls, a podcast recording studio and a space for a massage therapist. A child care area called Jelly Bellies, with certified childcare specialists for members’ children, also has been added to the main building.
The Candy Factory — a coworking campus at 342 N. Queen St. — has over 200 members and, according to founder Anne Kirby, about 120 people from Lancaster, Lititz, York, Harrisburg and elsewhere enter the building on any given day.
Kirby, wearing a shirt that reads “Cowork — Because Working Alone Sucks,” is busy, just like the Candy Factory. The mother of two not only founded the Candy Factory in 2010, but started her own design and marketing business. She founded the Coworking Alliance, which connects coworking spaces from across the state. She was elected as a delegate for Bernie Sanders in the 2016 presidential election. And she sings in a dream pop band with fellow Candy Factory coworker Jason Mundok. Presumably, she sleeps somewhere in there, too.
“What’s so cool about the Candy Factory is that there’s things going on the first floor, third floor, sixth floor,” Kirby says. “Companies of all sizes that use the space for meetings. It’s a great transitional space for companies. You can host mixers and corporate events at the space. It’s not just start-ups and small businesses or tech — even though they do lean heavy on tech side. There’s something for everyone.”
Basically, lots of things are happening at the Candy Factory all the time.
So, with so many fun and exciting things happening at once during the first Community Festival — celebrating nine years of coworking at the Candy Factory — it might not seem that different from an average day in the space.
The free family friendly event will feature music by Buzzard Luck, One Too Many, Salt N Light and possibly even a pop-up appearance by Here Inside — Kirby and Mundok’s dream pop band. Attendees also can get food from the Buzz food truck as well as other food vendors, including indulging in some free cupcakes. Kids can get their faces painted and get a balloon from Art of Recycle, and participate in raffles or games such as the multiplayer video game Overwatch. Tours of the campus also will be available.
People also can check out the first-ever art show featuring art work by some of the creatives at Candy Factory in the gallery located at the new Studio at the Candy Factory space.
The Candy Factory is as much a social scene as a workspace. Coworking gives people such as remote workers, freelancers or independent artists working in isolating jobs a place to connect to other people and the city.
“We get a lot of transplants from California, lots from New York,” Kirby says. “We tend to draw (transplants) in because — especially if they’re from a big city — it makes them feel like they’re back in New York. It definitely acts as a social club in some aspects.”