Dabble Community Enrichment Center celebrated opening in downtown Durand with a chamber ribbon-cutting ceremony on Thursday, Jan. 13. The new business, located on N. Saginaw Street inside an old bank building, is owned and operated by Mike Nazarian, along with his wife, Jamison.
Nazarian, an engineer at Chrysler who lives in Durand, helped initiate and lead Durand’s Edible Landscape Project last summer, bringing free food for the taking to anyone in the community – literally grown in downtown Durand and available to any interested person, needing or wanting a free tomato, green beans or more.
The Edible Landscape Project is both interesting and unique to the area, but Nazarian did not stop there. Witnessing major changes of lifestyle that happened during the pandemic, Nazarian observed there were numerous people working from home or forced to find ulterior ways to bring in income, but in situations where they were often stuck at home and not connected to the necessary resources they truly needed. An example might be a portrait photographer, able to offer portraiture or teach photography as a means of income, but lacking the room for a studio from home. Nazarian realized people needed space – and not space defined by four walls and a typical business model – but space he could offer people to inspire their creative potential and not space necessarily limited by normative thinking.
Nazarian’s vision for the Dabble Community Enrichment Center begins with two strong elements, including offering both creative space and room for confidence building. The concept is to offer room in the old bank, incorporating both floors, to individuals and/or groups wishing to advance themselves educationally, artistically, physically or even altruistically. He doesn’t really want to limit the definition. Dabble is an open-ended community learning business.
“I want to have an incubator space for people,” Nazarian explained. The multi-use space of the former bank can be transformative. It can be used for meetings, birthdays or parties. Or it can be used to teach a skill, offer a class – anything from Kids STEM to adult improvement classes. Some examples include a Mom2Mom Free Swap Day planned for March 13, a STEMNETICS class offered weekly, resume and interview workshops, how to use Facebook Business and more.
One of the goals of Dabble is to offer a space minus stigma where all people are comfortable to be open to learning whatever small or large tasks they might wish to achieve.
Nazarian is a huge promoter of self-confidence building. “It’s all about confidence,” he said. “Like finding a job. Maybe you don’t know how or just need the confidence to go forward. Such as interviewing for a company. Treat it as if it is time from your life, which should have reasonable value.” He suggests entering an interview with the approach of interviewing the employer. Why do you want to work for this company? What do they offer that is a fair exchange of your time or skills?
“A lot of societal problems are about self-confidence,” he said. “The little guy can’t get higher on the totem pole and that’s a self worth problem.” However, offering the little guy safe space at Dabble to take self-improvement classes might be just what is needed to overcome the self worth obstacle.
The first floor at Dabble will primarily be rented out for various classes. The lower level will be used for gaming. Nazarian currently has eight gaming terminals and plans to host gaming leagues and tournaments as an alternate method of luring people toward science.
Nazarian hopes to teach people the “logic and deeper understanding” of the electronic games they play daily. He is hopeful that sponsors will step up to help players with costs related to the tournaments.
Nazarian is currently seeking people interested in teaching/hosting yoga, CPR, art, game nights or music classes.
For more on the Dabble Community Enrichment Center, visit wedabble.org or follow the Facebook page. Rental costs vary with by-the-hour and by-the-day rentals available on a first-come-first-serve basis or as space is available.