JELLY: a casual coworking event, where freelancers, home workers and people running small businesses meet up in order to get out of their normal space, meet some new people and work together in a social environment.
The latest addition to the facilities at The Spur is what we’re calling a ‘chat booth.’ It’s a small space where you can take/make phone calls without bothering others. And if you need to use your laptop to make calls or otherwise use it for audio, the booth has a flip-down table, too. I find the chat booth to be very handy, especially when some of Northfield’s movers and shakers stop by (right photo above) and keep bothering me and socialize a bit.
Megan 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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
and a few more photos:
Are there other spaces in Northfield that would be ideally suited for a coworking space?
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.
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.
There 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.
In January, Northfield’s Cardinal Glass was cited in the Strib for receiving “$7.7 million of new federal funds to convert its residential-glass factory into a solar glass-coating plant.” (A tip of the blogger hat to Larry DeBoer for alerting me to it.)
I don’t know to what extent the people involved with Northfield’s economic development ecosystem (see organizations below) are pursuing green collar manufacturing jobs. I found a few mentions: