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Meet Maxine Clark of Build-A-Bear Workshop

Today we’d like to introduce you to Maxine Clark.

Hi Maxine; so excited to have you on the platform. So before we get into questions about your work life, maybe you can bring our readers up to speed on your story and how you got to where you are today.
The Delmar DivINe is a labor of love. We changed the D in divide to an N to make our focus on INclusion, Innovation, and I first came across the property when I saw the for sale sign for the former Connect Care hospital. I checked it out with several people, and all thought it would make a wonderful home for my idea to create a Cortex-like project for nonprofits. I met with many neighbors in 63112 who were all supportive and instrumental in helping me think through what the Delmar DivINe could mean to the community at large. That was in 2015; finally, in 2021, we could open to our nonprofit tenants. Today we are 100% leased! Throughout 2022 we have been moving in our great tenants, and in August 2022, the Residences at Delmar DivINe opened.

The Residences at Delmar DivINe are 150 mostly 1 and 2-bedroom apartments that cater to young professionals. The apartments have a swimming pool, club room, fitness center, indoor bike storage, and secure parking. Each apt is fully electric and has all the important amenities, including a washer/dryer. Several of our office tenants also have an apartment at the Residences, which makes the commute a breeze! Our tenants are thrilled. One of the great features of our nonprofit office space is the shared amenities of a cafe, over 20 conference rooms all outfitted with excellent tech, a conference center that holds 150 people, and a fitness center. The Center for Human Services Leadership is a huge draw as we provide the following:

  • Ongoing professional development.
  • One-on-one support.
  • Many special events and activities bring the Delmar DivINe community together.

The NoDe–coworking North of Delmar is now open to serve the neighborhood with a remarkable coworking space with access to many building amenities. You can buy a day, month, or for a limited time, a special 6-month pass. Opening soon will be our retail tenants–St. Louis Community Credit Union, GreaterHealth Pharmacy and Wellness, will also have a small Urgent Care and an Edward Jones office. In Spring 2023, we will also open the Deli DivINe. All of this retail is open to the public. The best is yet to come!

Can you talk to us about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way? Would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
Not a smooth road–COVID was our big interrupter, like almost all projects. Then supply chain. Things cost way more than we anticipated. Since our opening was delayed, some of our earliest interested tenants had to find another home. Overall, we managed well, and we are open and thriving.

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about Build-A-Bear Workshop?
I am the Founder of Build-A-Bear Workshop and the former Chief Executive of Bear. I retired from that amazing role in 2013 to spend my time and skills inspiring other entrepreneurs, be they businesses or neighborhoods. Whether young or older, there is always an opportunity to fulfill your dreams. I have always been a builder and a creator of businesses as a retailer, and now I get to inspire others. Build-A-Bear will celebrate its 25th anniversary this year, and I am so proud of what I built and the hugs created from our stores worldwide. Most of all, I am very proud of making sure that BAB was left in the capable hands of Sharon Price John.

Any big plans?
The Delmar DivINe is a work in progress, and we still have much to do. I am engaged in bringing the communities of STL together for real change and partnership. I also want to help other minority developers and contractors see their dreams come true in similar projects across the community.

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