As you’ve read in this space plenty of times, Mill Valley boasts a number of identifiable traits that make us a destination for both visitors and would-be residents. People are drawn to the natural beauty of our surroundings, top notch public schools, world class arts & entertainment, culinary and retail scenes that rival those of much larger cities and a local economy driven by hundreds of unique small businesses, all built on the 94941’s history of innovation.
One of the the most innovative standouts in recent years has been the Hivery, Grace Kraaijvanger‘s The Hivery, the female-fueled “co-working space and inspiration lab” that she brought to Mill Valley in 2016, quickly making it an inclusive force of nature at 38 Miller Avenue. Two years ago, Kraaijvanger expanded the business to San Francisco, opening a second location at the Fort Mason Center for the Arts + Culture.
In a lengthy, gut-wrenching note to her members and followers late Friday, Kraaijvanger announced that the Fort Mason location has closed, remaining available for exclusive run-of-space venue rentals by the day through October 17, and the Mill Valley space will do so effective Sept. 30. The Hivery will continue to offer its Hivery Circle digital membership.
“I have dreaded writing this letter for months, hoping that I wouldn’t have to, praying that things would change, pivoting in what seemed like a marathon of madness,” she wrote. “However, my dear community, we simply can’t continue like this.”
“We fought like hell to stay afloat in 2020 and more than half of 2021, and so many of you helped us do that,” she continued. “While other coworking spaces were shutting their doors, my heart kept telling me that it wasn’t our time, that we weren’t done. I held on, often feeling like I was drowning. I went into terrible periods of depression during our closure and endured countless sleepless nights. The stress was beyond intense. I had completely dug myself in for the battle. I couldn’t let them go. The two spaces were like my babies, my loves, and symbols of impact and positive change.”
“I tried everything, and I pivoted so fast and so much that I felt like I was frantically tap dancing with no end in sight for the better part of 18 months,” Kraaijvanger wrote.
She pointed to the stretch in June and July 2021– six months into a vaccination distribution cycle that had Marin among the highest vaccine rates in the country – as the moment “we would come back to a world of pent-up demand for events, IRL workspace, and in-person connection. We had placed our bets that our community was eager to re-gather, to meet, to work outside of the house. And it was true! The enthusiasm was immense. I received love notes and flowers congratulating us on surviving. We took our masks off mid-summer and smiled, and hugged. Until we couldn’t. Just a few weeks later the other shoe dropped. Events were canceled. People stopped coming. Members started canceling. The spaces went from a tentative return to buzzing back to being nearly empty. Within one week the dread and stress swooped right back in. And our dream was in peril, once again.”
“I learned, I loved, I cried, I persevered, I laughed,” Kraaijvanger wrote. “I created. And now I take it apart. But, never does it leave me.”
There are a number of ways you can support The Hivery before the Mill Valley space closes, including using the co-working space through the end of September (grab a day pass here), as well as discounted meeting room rentals. There’s also plenty of swag in the online shop.