By Callie Hietala
“There’s always opportunity… I always like to tell people, you close your mind, you close your world. Keep your mind and your eyes open at all times.”
That’s how Wayne Draper tries to look at the world, with eyes and mind wide open to possibility. And it was that outlook that led Draper to open the TAD Space, a new business center, co-working, and event facility in Uptown Martinsville. He and his team celebrated with a ribbon cutting on Friday, August 6.
The TAD Space gets its name from the philosophy behind the space. “A TAD is all you need” is the business’ tagline. “You only need a little to go a long way,” said Tania Draper, Wayne’s daughter and TAD’s Assistant Manager of Business Development. The TAD Space certainly delivers on a little bit of everything.
Entering the building from Church Street, visitors walk into the ball room. “This is where many of the events take place, such as the grand opening, baby showers, weddings, birthday parties. You name it we do it,” says Tania. The facility has tables and chairs available for events. “We also provide a lighting package and a sound package for your event if you needed that option,” she said.
The first floor also houses the office of photographer Sonia Ortiz, the TADCast recording studio where aspiring podcasters can come to record, and a recording studio run by music producer and engineer K.J. Harkness of VLNZ Recording. Across the hall is the Vision Vault, one of several conference rooms in the facility.
There are also several open lounge areas with tables, chairs, and couches as well as private office spaces available for people who want a more personal working environment. Soon, the facility will also be able to offer printing services for people who come to work in the space.
The TAD Space isn’t all about work, though. They’ve also created what they call the Zen Space. “You leave the phone outside, come in, relax. It’s more of a get away from work kind of space,” said Tania. A hallway has been transformed into Inspiration Alley, filled with framed inspirational posters and seating. “Let’s say you’re having some sort of writer’s block or you need some sort of motivation, this is where you’d come for that,” Tania said.
On the fourth floor are executive office spaces, with large windows to allow plenty of natural light, enough space for a desk and, if desired, a conference table, all of which is provided by the TAD Space.
To make sure they were creating a space that people would be happy to work in, the TAD team invited locals to come work in the space for a day and listened to their feedback, what they liked and didn’t like, even down to whether the chair they sat in was comfortable or not.
That attention to detail paid off, with modern design and professional facilities perfectly married in each co-working and private office space. It is a new look and new life for a historic building in Martinsville’s Uptown. And the facility isn’t even done yet.
The basement is currently storage for tables and chairs from the building before it was renovated, but the TAD Space team is already envisioning a new life for the area. On tours, they ask visitors what they would like to see the basement become. “Daycare is a very common answer,” Tania said.
Pricing for the various areas in the TAD Space range from $15 for a day in one of the smaller office spaces up to $600 for a month’s rental of a private Executive Suite. Daily, monthly, and yearly memberships are available. Conference rooms and the TADCast studio are both available at $50 an hour.
Housed in the former Rucker Plaza at 20 East Church Street, the TAD Space has been in the works for over two years. That’s around the time Wayne Draper and his family moved back to Martinsville. Draper was “born and raised right here in Martinsville and Henry County,” he said. “I’ve lived in Miami, I’ve lived in Tennessee, I’ve lived in Richmond a couple times, Roanoke a couple times, and I most recently resided in New Jersey.” The family moved back after Draper was laid off from his job in corporate America due to a reduction in force. The returned to Martinsville to be closer to family and friends where he and a partner created Right Now, a commercial and residential construction company. But, as Wayne said, “I’ve always had more than one hustle. Always.” So he turned his mind toward the TAD Space.
Wayne enjoyed the high energy of working in a sales and marketing environment, but had a hard time finding an office space that captured that same energy. “I’ve had multiple offices and traditionally when I go to them, when you first walk in you can kinda see a tumbleweed going across and you can see people literally walking around lifeless. You can see it. Everybody feels defeated.”
He envisioned a space that would foster energy, collaboration, and creativity. Above all, he wanted to invest his time in an effort that would make people happy.
“For me, when doing any business venture, I try to make it tie back to what makes me happy. That’s when you know you’ve found your purpose, is because you would do that and you would do it in such a way that you wouldn’t care if you even get compensated at the end of the week because you’re fulfilled.”
So what makes Wayne Draper happy?
“I’ve been in entertainment for over twenty years. I used to throw functions and events a lot, coming up. A lot in Martinsville. . . but I did a lot more outside of Martinsville. . . Seeing people happy makes me happy.”
It seems safe to think that the people who come to work and play in the TAD Space will be very happy indeed.
“There’s nowhere else that really rivals what we have. It’s like a corporate playground, that’s how I think of it.” said Joshua Moore, the TAD Space’s manager. “This is the first of its kind.”
He pauses, standing at the entrance to the Vision Vault, which is his workspace for the day. “It’s a new season for Martinsville.”