It takes a community

Posted on December 16, 2021 | By Stephanie Gough | 0 Comments

When Moncton’s BrainWorks stumbled and fell, Atlantic Canada’s business community scooped them up, setting them down again in a place lightyears ahead.


BrainWorks co-founder, Brad Leblanc.


Like most good Atlantic Canadian stories, this one starts—and ends—with a party.

The second looks something like this: the grand opening of a new office space, with facilities that are a marvel to behold. Called The Imagination Centre, the office is spread over all three floors of an iconic brick building, and its design honours this designation. The folding doors of the new production studio are flung open to create a larger event space on the main floor, where party guests are sipping lattes at Grind Time, the full-service café, and sampling delicacies from the chef’s kitchen. Later, they will climb the stairs to The Lemonade Stand, the bar on the second floor, before carrying their champagne flutes up another flight to visit the hydrotherapy spa on the third. All the while, they are enjoying expansive views of a chilled Petticodiac flowing below along snow-laden banks.

Not quite a year earlier, the first party had also taken place in a century-old, remodeled brick building. That party had been a more intimate affair: workmates celebrating a team member’s 30th in an Airbnb downtown. Here too, the executive accommodations were impressive: vaulted ceilings, ornate wrought iron, spacious bedrooms with brick fireplaces, flat screens and ensuite baths, a contemporary kitchen with centre island framed by white shaker cabinets and blue Venetian tile.

Both celebrations take place in the same city, and both involve the same individuals. But for all intents and purposes, they could be on different planets. As one participant observed, what happened between the morning of 3 April 2021 and the end of the year can only be likened to a quantum leap forward.

Moncton’s BrainWorks was born and grew out of a coffee shop in Dieppe in 2012. Co-founder Brad Leblanc jokes the marketing agency should have been called Cup Second (he uses a French pronunciation) as they spent so much time using the coffee shop’s WiFi in the early days. No money, no team, no clients, one mission: to create a new kind of creative agency.


LEFT: The outside of their new home – The Imagination Centre located at the corner of King and Main street in downtown Moncton. RIGHT: The Wellness Lounge inside “The Imagination Centre” by BrainWorks


Coffee is writ large in Leblanc’s story, and it is not entirely clear which he credits more for BrainWorks’ growth over the following years, caffeine or gratitude. In any case, grow it did.

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