Collide Factory in FAT Village Closes, Will Seek New Location

After a year in the making and just a couple of months open for business, the Collide Factory in FAT Village has closed its doors and rolled down its shutters for good.

The space was billed as "a creative and collaborative idea incubator." Founder Travis Webster needed a place to run his marketing firm and decided to take the leap into something more experimental. 

"I thought, what if my office were everybody's office?" he explained to New Times in February. Webster would lease out space to designers, musicians, and techies who could collaborate on contracted work for clients.

But on Thursday, Webster posted a message on his Twitter account: "Friends, I officially closed the doors @CollideFactory FAT Village due to overwhelming complications. More info" ...The link leads to a goodbye post on his website.

Along with his business partner, local entrepreneur and musician Ryan Alexander, Webster spent last summer turning the warehouse he rented from FAT Village landlord Doug McCraw into a gleaming, air-conditioned space. In February, the venue hosted the Ignite FTL conference and seemed ready to take on business.

But the strains of financial pressure and a lack of business seem to have weighed too heavily on Webster. During a February interview (to be featured in an upcoming story), he told New Times, "I'm looking forward to a day when the space is actively breathing by itself."

He said he had faced financial pressures, despite a lease he had negotiated with McCraw, under a nondisclosure agreement, for lower rent.

"I have decided to close the doors of a FAT Village location and move to a new space," Webster wrote on his website. No word on the fate of the shipping containers that Webster and his crew laboriously moved into the space and had expertly covered with graffiti.

Webster was unavailable for comment on Thursday afternoon.

Update 3:58 p.m.:
Webster tells New Times that he'll be seeking new locations for the Collide Factory in Fort Lauderdale and Orlando. "The really complicated issue is between what FAT Village is trying to achieve and what we are," he says, citing a dispute with landlord Doug McCraw. We'll have more information coming next week.

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And of course Travis Webster has made no mention of this "information coming next week", or for over a month.

The only dispute was Travis Webster not paying his rent and operating a business without a Business Tax ID, nor having permits for all the construction and installation he did.

He set himself and Collide Factory to FAIL. Maybe next time he'll do things the right way and not hedge his bets and comply with his landlord and the city of Fort Lauderdale.

He's made excuse on every article and post about his business practices, yet takes no accountability for his mistakes in any way.

His silence speaks volumes.

Hopefully his bad reputation won't hinder FAT Village's success.

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