In January 2007 we took the exciting step of signing a commercial lease for a small 388 square foot room in a nondescript brick building, 4570 Main Street, on the same block as my two favorite stores, Lee's Electronics and Main Electronics. We expected to spend 2 months renovating and setting up shop, and then have a grand opening. Well it's been a little longer than that and we still don't have a sign out, but you can see from the pictures below that it's not for lack of working.
When we first got the space, the rooms were filled with appliances, old dishes, and 1970's furniture that the land lady didn't know quite what to do with. Even the carpet cleaner wouldn't touch the floor and advised us to tear it up and lay something new
Removing the carpet was one thing, but scraping off the dried carpet glue to get down to usable tiles was quite another. There were two solid days of floor scraping on our hands and knees before we decided to bite the bullet and rent a belt sander and then just paint the whole floor over.
The industrial grade red paint looked good, but it was oil based, and the air intake for the building's ventilation system is right on our floor. So the noxious fumes smoked out the tenants in the residential suite upstairs. Oops. After that we used low VOC paint only.
The lease in our old storage room holding all our inventory ended early in February, so we had to have the shelves built at the new shop to accommodate the motors and batteries in fairly short order.
It was only after loading all the boxes on that we decided painting them might be a good idea.
Boy, was it a nice moment to receive another small sea shipment of hub motors and find that we had perfectly sized shelving in place to store it all in an orderly fashion.
During the time that we're renovating the shop, the city of Vancouver appeared to be renovating Main Street to be more pedestrian and transit friendly. One day our sidewalk was torn up, next week they started pouring new concrete, and I thought, "Damn, what a rare opportunity to leave a pro-bicycle impression."
Initially we had planned to do this surreptitiously, but found that the city planners and engineers were more than willing to entertain our plans! So a frantic weekend was spent cutting out bicycle and tricycle stencils in the garage in time for a Monday pour. The construction crew built a special framed box in the sidewalk and took pride in making sure our patterns turned out.
One important goal in the new shop was to build and efficient and automated battery testing station. This bench can charge and discharge cycle up to 8 battery packs at a time, with provisions in place for handling 16 batteries fairly soon. The two silver boxes at the top are custom built load banks which can dissipate up to 6000 watts of battery power.
When the two summer co-op students arrived at the beginning of May, one of the first jobs for them was to build the necessary work spaces they'd need. Here's Anthony screwing together the frame for what soon became a ceiling mounted magnetic tool rack.