by Taylor Meyers
At first glance, Square One Clubs may seem like some sort of money management facility or law office that is being run out of a business suite. The name, written on the door, may even be reminiscent of a membership store or vacation club. However, the inner workings of Square One Clubs are much more creative and inspiring than one might think.
Upon entering the building, posters for video games and artwork can be seen lining the walls. Meeting rooms for creative discussions separate rooms with green screens and computers. Far from a bleak business space, Square One Clubs is bursting with color and creativity. And according to Nathan Allshouse, one of the founders of Square One Clubs, creativity is the whole point if the business.
Allshouse says that he, along with a group of fellow video game and computer programmers, had the idea to start this business 5 years ago. Allshouse, who works in I.T. by day, has been interested in video game programming since the age of 8 years old. After meeting through a programming group years ago, he and his colleagues began developing ideas for a video game, but with few spaces and outlets for actually completing the game, they turned their discussions to the topic of how to start their own business instead. They decided that they wanted to open a business that focused on giving programmers a space to learn from one another, brainstorm, and create. And thus, Square One Clubs was born.
With the help of the Sacramento R.I.E.L.S. Grant, which awarded 1.5 million dollars to creative
programs from the Mayor’s Office of Innovation & Entrepreneurship ($50, 000 of which was awarded to Allshouse and his partners), they set to work on finding a location for their office and starting their business. They found their home in a small business center off of Tech Center Drive in Sacramento, Ca.
With their location established, they set out to create a space that would support, not just video game and computer programmers, but all of the local talent throughout the many facets of the Sacramento creative industries. As well as computer labs, the building also features a studio with a green screen, a rental office with desks and mini cubicles, a break room, a conference room, a classroom for presentations and lessons, and a café for brainstorming or chatting. They wanted Square One Clubs to be a place for anyone needing a space to be creative, especially for women in the programming industry. In an
industry with less than 25% female employment, according to the 2015 Developer Satisfaction Survey Summary Report, Allshouse said that he would love to see more female programmers going into the field and exploring their talents.
With a strong foundation of teamwork and goals, Square One Clubs seems to be off to a great-start as a new business; so what lies ahead? Allshouse says that they would love to expand their space to have a motion capture studio for film makers and video game makers, as well as help other start-up programming studios to develop from the ground up. He also says that they would love to eventually expand the company by adding in more business locations. The plural name (Square One Clubs) suggests that they had never planned to stop at just one branch.
They will continue to grow and inspire artists to create their versions of art, whether that be video game programming, film making, painting, graphic designing, or any other type of creative work. “We want to celebrate our members,” Allshouse says. And celebrate, they will.
Allshouse, Nathan. Personal Interview. 11 July 2017.
Clubs, Square One. “Square One Clubs.” Square One Clubs – Home. N.p., n.d. Web. 03 Aug. 2017.
Innovation Sacramento ‘Square One Clubs’ Published on Feb 19, 2018
“Mayor’s Office for Innovation & Entrepreneurship.” Mayor’s Office for Innovation & Entrepreneurship. N.p., n.d. Web. 03 Aug. 2017. <https://innovatesac.org/>.
Weststar, Johanna, and Marie-Josee Legault. Developer Satisfaction Survey 2015: Summary Report. Rep. N.p.: n.p., n.d. Print. https://c.ymcdn.com/sites/www.igda.org/resource/collection/CB31CE86- F8EE-4AE3-B46A-148490336605/IGDA%20DSS%202015- SummaryReport_Final_Sept15.pdf