After nearly a decade of living and working in Washington, D.C., Phil Hagen was ready for a change. He packed up and headed a few hours north to Lewes, Del., where he has lived since 2010.
But moving didn’t necessarily mean a change in career.
Hagen is the CEO of Red Canary, a startup in Virginia that provides managed threat detection to businesses. He also teaches a network forensics course at the SANS Institute and travels across the country a few times a month.
To work remotely, Hagen would work from home or visit coffee shops in the Lewes area. But this had its drawbacks, he said.
Hagen crossed paths with fellow Lewes resident Micah Sklut, the creator of Swellinfo.com, a website dedicated to bringing accurate surf and weather forecasts to users.
The two discussed sharing an office and surveyed their peers about creating a coworking space. From there, the idea to start a community coworking space was born.
“We realized we were severely lacking the ability to communicate with other humans,” Hagen said. “Our original intent was to have [the office] be just for us, but we talked to others who had tried coworking before and realized we could provide a service — something people in our area could benefit from.”
Beach Desks, located in the Bay Vista Business Center in Rehoboth Beach where Route 1 and 1A split, soft launched in late 2013. There will be an official launch event later this month at the space, which can accommodate about seven or eight people at a time, Hagen said.
A desk at the coworking space can be rented for $20 to $30 per day, depending on how long a commitment an individual makes. A dedicated desk costs $400 to rent per month and a floater desk is $325.
The coworking space is equipped with Internet, key access, a coffee maker, refrigerator, desks, bistro-style tables and a larger conference room.
Hagen said he’s excited about the potential value the space holds, not only for locals, but for out-of-towners who need office space for a few days while vacationing.
“We’re in an ideal location and we could attract people who are staying for the week or the weekend,” Hagen said. “Doing work here is better than having to do it next to the beer fridge at the vacation house. It gives people the chance to get out of the house for a change of scenery.”
Beach Desks is open to individuals of all working backgrounds, but Hagen said he has feeling the space will attract business people and entrepreneurs.
One current tenant’s work includes website design, social media and helping businesses establish an online presence. Hagen has spoken with other potential tenants, some of whom specialize in sports marketing and financial planning.
“I’ve always been interested in the different kinds of interactions people with different work can have,” Hagen said. “It’s kind of cool to know someone who does work you might need instead of doing a web search looking for who knows what.”
Although Wilmington is building momentum around tech companies and startups, Southern Delaware is drawing more solo entrepreneurs and small businesses, Hagen said. Beach Desks hopes to mimic the success of the Wilmington coworking space formerly known as the coIN Loft by attracting individuals from diverse backgrounds and career paths.
“We’re pretty excited about it. It’s been a long time coming,” Hagen said. “It’s the right time and right place for it and we’re definitely looking forward to expanding.”
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