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.

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.

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