Like any good entrepreneur, Larry Bonton knows he must explore the concept a bit further when an idea hits. Earlier this year, he joined forces with six other creative entrepreneurs and associates to found Dream Creative Complex (DCC)—geared at helping other creative types fulfill their goals through community, collaboration, and connection.
Owners Bonton, TerDawn DeBoe, Stanley Gordon, Sam Long, LaMar Cotton, Dextric Noble, and Al Aronowitz—who go by "The Collective"—abide by the motto that “where you work and whom you surround yourself with can have a serious impact on the success of your business and well-being.”
To that end, the team sought to offer a place where the Bedford Heights community could come together and put their skills to use via access to equipment and the opportunity to produce their own projects.
"I would really just like to see what sort of projects come out of bringing the creative community together," says Bonton.
So, the group opened DCC, a 3,000-square-foot multimedia creative coworking space at 23660 Miles Road in Bedford Heights. The grand opening is planned for Saturday, December 15.
Equipped with podcasting, workshop, photography, and videography spaces, DCC is now Northeast Ohio’s largest multimedia creative coworking space, according to The Collective. Computers come fully uploaded with Adobe Creative Suite, while video and microphone technology are provided and paired with the latest in editing software. And gamers are welcome, too.
“DCC caters to creatives in that someone can come in and work on their project,” explains DeBoe. “We have what any creative would need to work on their dream.”
The concept came after the group got together to talk about how they could pool their talents and offer a much-needed, unique resource to creative technology entrepreneurs.
“We were all associates who quickly became friends,” says Bonton of The Collective. “Starting it came out of [the fact that] there is really not anything like it available for creatives in Cleveland. We are all creative at heart.”
The Collective is living proof of that: Bonton is co-founder of computer repair company NuTech Solutionz, while DeBoe is CEO and creative director of Creative Thought Solutions. Gordon was a truck driver for the past five years while he developed his line of S. Gordon essential oils.
Last year, Gordon took three weeks’ worth of paychecks and bought toys for 100 kids in Bedford, dressed up as “Stan-ta Claus.” Gordon was so inspired by the positive reception that he started a nonprofit, Let’s Tie the Knot, to help kids struggling in the Lee Harvard neighborhood (where he grew up). The organization, now housed in DCC, teaches youth financial literacy, rational thinking, entrepreneurial skills, and etiquette. To date, Gordon has given 500 book bags away via book bag drives and will be doing another toy drive this year.
Furthermore, Gordon has gathered a group of students to participate in hands-on learning at DCC and will start a new class in January. “We all have stories,” Gordon says, “and that’s what makes us a great group.” He also plans to give away $1,000 scholarships to deserving neighborhood students.
Membership packages to DCC start at $50 per month, which also earn perks within DCC. “Perks are really creative amenities,” explains Bonton. “For instance, perks can be applied towards the rental of cameras needed for photo shoots or towards the use of a podcasting/recording studio within the complex.”
But even non-members are welcome to come in and explore the different assets of DCC. Bonton says DCC will offer workshops to anyone interested in learning more about how to use the equipment or how to produce a creative project.
The grand opening is slated for this Saturday, December 15, from 3 to 6 p.m. At the open house, the DCC team will showcase all the tools the complex offers to help make a creative idea come to life. The event will also feature professional headshots, live poetry, hors, d'oeuvres, and music. Tickets are free.
With the help of students at JFK High School, Gordon will also be collecting toys, gift cards, gift wrap, and tape at the DCC launch. He (as "Stan-ta Claus") and the students will then deliver the wrapped toys to the JFK Recreation Center on Saturday, December 22, from 1 to 4 p.m.