Tag Archives: co-working

It’s true. Working alone sometimes stinks. Therefore…

The Spur: Working alone stinks. Let's work together. The Spur: Working alone stinks. Let's work together. Grand Opening: The Spur Jack Hoschouer, Arlen Malecha, Megan Tsui, Mary Schmelzer
The Spur, the Northfield Enterprise Center‘s new coworking and incubator/accelerator facility in downtown Northfield, had its grand opening last Thursday. Among the attending dignitaries (right photo above on the Spur’s back deck): Jack Hoschouer, Arlen Malecha, Megan Tsui, Mary Schmelzer.

The Spur’s sidewalk sandwich board proclaims:

Working alone stinks. Let’s work together.

 Megan Tsui, Shafi Shahriar Megan Tsui, Shafi Shahriar raffle winner
NEC Executive Director Megan Tsui and intern Shafi Shahriar picked the raffle ticket for the Kindle Fire, donated by Community Resource Bank. The winner: Carla Hansen.

Tami Enfield of Brand Yourself Consulting, presenting at the SpurSummer of Social Learning - FacebookTami Enfield of Brand Yourself Consulting, presenting at the Spur

Earlier in the day in the Spur’s conference room,Tami Enfield of Brand Yourself Consulting, hosted a free Lunch ‘n Learn session on ‘Facebook for Business,’ part of the ‘Summer of Social Media’ series sponsored by the NEC and the Northfield Area Chamber of Commerce.

Spur coworking center opens this week; win a Kindle Fire at the open house Thursday night

Spur Coworking, Northfield, MN Spur Coworking, Northfield, MN Amelia Schmelzer, Shafi Shahriar, CJ James, Megan Tsui, Connor Petersen
I spent a few hours last week at The Spur, the Northfield Enterprise Center‘s new coworking and incubator/accelerator facility at 313 1/2 Division St, (2nd floor above Division St. Dance).  NEC Executive Director Megan Tsui had her interns hard at work getting the place ship-shape (right photo above: Amelia Schmelzer, Shafi Shahriar, CJ James, Megan Tsui, Connor Petersen).

Griff Wigley at Spur Coworking, Northfield, MN Spur Coworking, Northfield, MN Spur Coworking, Northfield, MN Spur Coworking, Northfield, MN  
I’ll be officing here starting this week, mostly in the mornings t 8:30-noonish (yes, I’ll maintain my corner office at GBM 6-8:30am). The main room has plenty of work spaces, plus a fridge, microwave, coffee pot, water cooler, lockers, and a copy machine/network printer. Not visible: fast wi-fi.

Spur Coworking, Northfield, MN Spur Coworking, Northfield, MN Spur Coworking, Northfield, MN Spur Coworking, Northfield, MN Spur Coworking, Northfield, MN
The back (east) room has three areas: a lounge, a big meeting space in the middle (tables, chairs, digital projector), and a smaller conference table in the back. The outdoor deck area (right photo) will have tables and chairs.

The Spur currently has three membership levels, similar to CoCo MSP’s individual membership plans but without the signup fees.

Kindle FireWant to win a Kindle Fire, donated by Community Resource Bank?

See the web version of Megan’s email for details on the July 26 4-7 pm open house.

Spur Coworking to open downtown in July

Future home of Spur Coworking in downtown NorthfieldMegan Allen Tsui, Executive Director of the Northfield Enterprise Center,  announced on the Northfield Coworking blog yesterday (Spur has a home) that they’d signed a lease for 1,400 sq. ft. of space above Dance N’ Fitness and Jenkin’s Jewelers at 313 1/2 Division St.  Opening will be in early July.

Among the pluses, according to Megan: high ceilings, wood floors, entrance on Division, street level entrance off of the 5th Street parking lots, handicapped accessible.

And about the name, Spur Coworking? (Does it have a hyphen or not?) Megan wrote on Nfld Patch a couple weeks ago:

Spur can stand for several things- sure, it’s what cowboys wear to make their horses (or businesses?) go faster, but it is also a verb that means "to accelerate." We hope that it is a good descriptor of what we hope coworking does for our community.

I’m guessing (hoping?) that the name "The Spur" will catch on, for example,  "It’s too noisy at the Blue Monday at that hour. Let’s meet at the Spur instead."

No word yet on membership rates or how the space will be configured and furnished.

Photos: the NEC hosts a gathering on coworking

Northfield coworking planning session Megan Tsui, Pat Allen
I attended the Coworking Incubator/Accelerator Community Brainstorming Session yesterday in the Archer House lower level conference room, hosted by the Northfield Enterprise Center.

I don’t have time to summarize what happened (hopefully, ED Megan Tsui will do that!) but I’m guessing there will be a website within a month, as Sean Hayford O’Leary and I volunteered to get that going.

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Northfield coworking gathering is Tuesday, Jan. 31

Northfield Coworking gathering

The Northfield Enterprise Center is hosting a Coworking Incubator/Accelerator Community Brainstorming Session on Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2-4 pm in the Archer House lower level conference room.

In related news, according to Megan Tsui, NEC’s executive director, "the EDA approved the NEC’s request for $20,000 in matching funds for a grant from SMIF (also $20,000)" for the "design and development of an Incubator/Accelerator (I/A) space in Northfield. The NEC will use a Co-working model with a membership structure to help make the project sustainable for the long-term." See pages 7-14 of last week’s EDA mtg packet.

And last Friday, "Councilwoman Rhonda Pownell and several NEC Board members took a tour of CoCo Minneapolis," according to this post on the NEC Facebook Wall.

If you’re new to coworking, see all the blog posts about it here.

Aldsworth Building looks ideal as a coworking space. Are there others?

Aldsworth Building Aldsworth Building, interior Aldsworth Building, interior
I’m excited about the possibility of a coworking space in Northfield. See my Dec. 6 blog post, NEC convenes coworking group; photos of CoCo MSP’s new Mpls space show what’s possible.

I toured all three floors of the Aldsworth Building at 19 Bridge Square yesterday, courtesy of Leah Rich at Neuger Communications Group. The Aldsworth is connected to their new space at 25 Bridge Square, formerly the Community Resource Bank.

The Aldsworth seems ideal for a coworking space: smack in the middle of downtown, many small offices, two kitchens, an elevator, and several larger conference-type rooms, two of which overlook Bridge Square (above photos).  Here’s the floor plans PDF:

Aldsworth Building Floor Plan

and a few more photos:

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Are there other spaces in Northfield that would be ideally suited for a coworking space?

NEC convenes coworking group; photos of CoCo MSP’s new Mpls space show what’s possible

Northfield, MN Coworking group meeting, Dec. 5, 2011 Northfield, MN Coworking group meeting, Dec. 5, 2011 Northfield, MN Coworking group meeting, Dec. 5, 2011 Northfield, MN Coworking group meeting, Dec. 5, 2011 
Yesterday afternoon, Megan Allen Tsui, Executive Director of the Northfield Enterprise Center (NEC), convened a meeting of possible stakeholders and other people interested in creating a coworking/incubator/accelerator space in Northfield (background blog post here). We met in a conference room at the Neuger Communications Group.

Other attendees: Ross Currier (NDDC), Tami Enfield, Rick Estenson (First National Bank Northfield, NEC, Chamber), Kathy Feldbrugge (Northfield Area Chamber of Commerce), Jody Gunderson (City of Northfield), Beth Kallestad (CRWP), Julie Kildahl, Dave Neuger (Neuger Communications Group, Chamber), Rhonda Pownell (Northfield City Council), Donna Rae Scheffert, Mary Schmelzer (Northfield Enterprise Center),  Justin Volling (St. Olaf student), and Erica Zweifel (Northfield City Council).

Tentative next steps include a community awareness meeting in January, as well as a couple of coworking jellies.

After the meeting, I attended an event at CoCo MSP’s new space in the Grain Exchange Building in downtown Minneapolis.

Here are some photos of what it now looks like, with its:

CoCo MSP Minneapolis CoCo MSP Minneapolis
large event space;

CoCo MSP Minneapolis CoCo MSP Minneapolis CoCo MSP Minneapolis
open tables;

CoCo MSP Minneapolis CoCo MSP Minneapolis CoCo MSP Minneapolis CoCo MSP Minneapolis
and dedicated desk and ‘campsite’ spaces.

A new type of economic development in Northfield: co-working

I’ve long thought about how economically beneficial (and cool) it would be to have a co-working space in Northfield, ever since Tracy Davis blogged here about the idea back in 2008

I’ve been to the 3rd Place coworking space in St. Anthony Park in St. Paul for meetings. I’ve been to CoCoMSP‘s Lowertown location in downtown St. Paul several times for meetings and conferences. Next week I’ll attend a conference at their new downtown Minneapolis location in the Grain Exchange building. See this Oct. 28 WCCO-TV story (text and video) about coworking there (the ‘brain exchange’ as Mpls Mayor RT Rybak evidently calls it) titled CoCo Reinvents Office Space In Twin Cities:

Aldsworth Building, 19 Bridge Square, NorthfieldMore recently, I’ve been mentioning to people that the old Aldsworth Building on Bridge Square would be perfect for this, now that Neuger Communications Group has taken it over. It’s currently sitting empty.

Megan Allen Tsui and Griff WigleyIt’s now looking like momentum is building for a co-working space in Northfield.

Earlier this week I met with Megan Allen Tsui, the new Executive Director of the Northfield Enterprise Center (NEC). She’s been exploring the coworking idea with the NEC board and has a new blog post about it titled Coworking as Business Accelerator In Northfield? A couple of excerpts:

One of the ideas that is being looked at is something called a Coworking space. They are spaces for innovative thinkers, entrepreneurs, freelancers, mentors, and sometimes non-profits to gather together around the concept that together they can build more successful companies and organizations. They are designed to be the best of many things- cool workspace, coffeehouse, social club, and high-tech conference centers.

NECThere are several business models for Coworking locations…and at this point I believe the NEC is in “listening” mode. What do you think of this idea? Would you rent space to work a few times a week? How about a conference room that has all the latest high-tech bells and whistles yet looks out over the beautiful, historic downtown?

What if you could grab a cup of your favorite coffee and head to a space where you meet really fun, cool, innovative people doing amazing things together? Could a space like this keep recently graduated college students from leaving town?

I think the economics of a co-working facility are looking brighter, as more small organizations decide to locate in them. For example, the Citizens League recently announced that they’re moving their headquarters to CoCoMSP St. Paul in January. What small Northfield organizations could benefit from doing likewise?

What seem to be the pros and cons of a coworking space in Northfield? What questions and concerns do you have?

I’m planning to be an informal champion for it but I’m not business-savvy enough to know whether it would work here.

So let the discussion begin.

Could Northfield use a co-working site?

A recent article in the Chicago Tribune about the rising trend of “co-working” space (shared space where the self-employed or telecommuting employee can plug in to work) got me thinking again about the benefits of such a space for Northfield. Is there a market?

The local coffeehouses are serving this function now, but I believe there may be an additional need for a place more conducive to work which still provides the social benefits. Shared work sites across the country have similar features – generally an open room with desks, some meeting rooms, maybe a kitchen; most are in the $150-300/month range.

From the Sept. 8 article:

…co-workers have included computer programmers and Web site developers, road-warrior salesmen who need a quiet place to make sales calls, a graduate student writing his doctoral dissertation and even a woman who runs a dog-walking business.

That’s a typically broad cross section of the people who use coworking sites, part of what author Daniel Pink calls “Free Agent Nation,” the independent contractors and freelance workers who can work anywhere as long as they can plug in a laptop, use their cell phones and hook up to the Internet.

As an indication of how big that nation is becoming, the U.S. Census Bureau reported that the number of single-person businesses increased from 16.5 million in 2000 to 20.4 million in 2005.

For more details on this trend, see coworking.info.

Let’s pretend that we had an appropriately configured space here in Northfield. Are there those who would sign up at $150/month? Is there even a need for such a space? I think yes, knowing a large number of self-employed and entrepreneurial types who don’t have dedicated office space.