It could be lights-out for the only coworking space in Lower Delaware. A year after its official launch in Rehoboth, Beach Desks is in danger of having to close shop — despite an apparent influx of interest over the summer.
“We’ve seen a nice surge of interest in the space this summer — which has been awesome,” wrote cofounder Phil Hagen in an email to members obtained by Technical.ly Delaware. “Our members have run the gamut: skimboard lesson provider, web programmers, real estate manager, sports marketers, information security consulting, and more.”
So, what happened?
These days, Hagen is traveling more often than he’s at home. He works in network security for Red Canary and SANS Institute, and is often on the road hosting workshops. Plus, Beach Desks cofounder Micah Sklut sold his company Swellinfo.com last year and has since taken a job with real estate developers Schell Brothers.
Hagen wrote that the two factors have “unfortunately brought me to a decision point on the financial viability of continuing to lease the space for Beach Desks. Our current lease is over on 30 Sept., so some changes are needed to keep the space open.”
Previously, the only two “core members” were Hagen and Sklut, with “ad-hoc” payment plans for other members. With Sklut now out of the picture and Hagen himself on the road but bearing the financial burden, Hagen said he would like to see four core members in the space to keep it going.
“I see the new structure as a way to build more of a consistent membership base, which would lead to wider exposure through our professional networks, and a wider background of core and ad-hoc members,” Hagen said. “One of the key benefits of co-working is that you get to interact with people outside your own business area.”
Hagen said he needs to make his final decision by Aug. 15, and that keeping the space open would be strongly preferred to “yanking the rug out” from ad-hoc members who have been using it. And if the space has to close? What does that mean for Hagen and Beach Desks’ ad-hoc members?
“Unfortunately, we’ll be back to our home-based offices or coffee shops. This isn’t ideal, since it isolates independent workers like our members are,” Hagen said. “But without co-working or similar options, those are about the only options.”-30-
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