(Photo by Brian Feister)
Wilmington’s coworking spaces — coIN Loft, 1313 Innovation and The Mill (and Artist Ave Station!) — tend to get a lot of attention, but as we reported in August, there’s a small coworking space in Newark that’s been doing just fine for the past five years.
And by small, we mean five desks. But that’s about to change: Newark CoWork director Brian Feister has announced that in two to three weeks, the space will have a capacity of 19 desks.
“We had an opportunity where a much larger space opened up, and we decided to commit to renovating it and making it more appropriate to what we need as a coworking space,” Feister said.
CoWork isn’t really moving, just expanding. It previously had neighbors within a suite, and now it will simply take up the entire suite. “We’re kind of moving across the hall, so to speak,” Feister said.
All that’s left in renovations, he said, is to install flooring and electrical wiring, along with a few other odds and ends.
He kept the original coworking space — a room with five desks and a conference room — small because he wanted to keep the enterprise low-risk and not have to worry about lots of unfilled openings. But now he’s ready to spread his wings a bit.
The new space will have a conference room, a main work room with seven desks, and then three rooms with four desks each. Two of the three rooms, he said, are already booked. Some desks in the main room are also still available — Feister said overall, he’s at about half capacity.
Current renters vary widely in their businesses, ranging from energy traders to a food delivery startup. Everyone has their own key and access to the place 24/7, Feister said, which works out because he’s not there two days a week.
The monthly cost of a desk has been $250, which includes parking and storage space, but that will go up to $280 because of increased costs with the new space, Feister said. That’s the rate for a six-month agreement, and tenants can also rent desks month-to-month for $350.
In the past five years, he’s made a key observation about coworking spaces in Newark: One focus is the community and collaboration aspect of coworking, he said. “The other half is providing a low-risk option for fledgling businesses that need to not be locked into a lease they can’t afford if that business fails in six months,” he said. “What I’ve learned in these five years has been it’s much more the second item that people are interested in.” At least, that is, in Newark.
That doesn’t mean Feister doesn’t value community. He said he’s interested in talking with UD’s Horn Program in Entrepreneurship. “I’m hoping to create a bridge for people to transition from UD students over to paid members of Newark CoWork,” he said. Feister also wants to start an internship program for marketing CoWork on campus.
“I almost feel like since we’re across the street, maybe we could collaborate with people who use the Venture Development Center and host events … there in partnership,” he said.
But before he does that, he’s got a new coworking space to unveil. Stay tuned for updates.
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