CoWorking [koh-wur-king, koh-wur-] (noun) – a style of work which involves a shared working environment, sometimes an office, yet independent activity (Wikipedia)
Grand Rapids, Michigan, is an excellent city in which to start a small business. In the past I’ve named many resources for getting off the ground. Now I’d like to showcase a few coworking spaces that help to keep the ball rolling.
Why consider a coworking space in the first place? For a single entrepreneur like myself, sometimes I just need to get out of the house. For groups that have started something, a home environment doesn’t always cut it. Maybe a specialized space is needed for the kind of work you’re interested in. At the very least, coworking space means networking and the support of others in similar shoes.
Let me start with a space I’ve spoken of in the former context – Start Garden. Unknown to some, Start Garden offers annual membership for use of their space and resources. If your company is still in its infancy, Start Garden is a great place to find inspiration and amenities due to the constant flow of new ideas through their doors. Start Garden is downtown Grand Rapids in a new space at 40 Pearl St., and membership is $150/month.
Creatives will love the flexibility of Left Right Boom, a coworking space specific to designers. Located at 60 Ransom NE, right off the Silver Line bus and across from the Main Library, freelancers and creatives will find a space conducive to their needs. Complete with conference room for rent and an easy $7/day for a desk.
StartUps that specialize in the sciences and medical field may find GR Current a more useful space to join. Located downtown on Division Ave. (just south of the Medical Mile), and priced at $40/month, they are extremely affordable and provide similar perks to the likes of The Factory (printing, unlimited coffee). They also have a ping-pong table, in case you need to distract yourself while you work out a problem. (This space has since closed.)
For more established businesses, The Factory might seem more desirable. The Factory is a space on Fulton above San Chez dedicated to businesses that are growing and changing, but aren’t quite ready to take the leap into an office lease. It offers a variety of working areas, technology, and a great community that is constantly engaged and supporting each other. Even cooler, The Factory hosts classes to further your industry knowledge and give your business a leg up. Membership is marked by monthly rates starting at $75, but if you’re curious, you can purchase a $20 day pass.
Late stage startups and small businesses might enjoy the resources and feel of Blue35 on Commerce Ave. This eight story* space offers tons of resources, lots of people to bump shoulders with, tons of amenities (including conference rooms and a BlueScape room), and the comfort of Hayworth furniture. One can purchase general membership, a punch card, a dedicated desk, or a full office, but pricing is custom and has a wide range. BONUS: Blue35 offers rooftop space for summer event rental. Now that’s a great way to make your business stand out. *(five of the floors are available for custom build out for larger businesses)
Large businesses such as the likes of Meijer, Steelcase, and Herman Miller might choose to rent space downtown at the Custer WorkLab. Located in the skywalk and curated by Custer, a Steelcase distributer, businesses can purchase a desk in the coworking space, or a fully built out office that utilizes the company’s modular designs. Conference rooms offer white boards and large screens for meetings. The price matches the target market, however, starting at $39/day or $199/month for occasional use.
If you are an artist, consider checking out MoBevy (Monroe Bevy). MoBevy is described as an office space for the artistic looking for a semi private work area. Since MoBevy caters to the creative, the space offers an inspiring atmosphere. It is located right on Monroe Center, a view that can’t be beat. Membership starts at $350/month, and the conference room can be rented for $50/hour.
Head to the South Side of the city to check out LINC UP. This urban workspace values diversity and is a part of a larger organization that works to revitalize and maintain vibrant communities. Your membership goes to support the organization and its free classes and networking events. You can get a day pass for $20 or a full membership for $100/month.
A new space has opened on the Grand Rapids scene. Named 12 Oakes (for its address), the space is owned and operated by a friend of mine! 12 Oakes is a collaborative space that provides all the necessities of an office without the overhead. Monthly membership runs at $99.
Finally, if you’re east of Grand Rapids and you’re looking for a place close by, check out the 654 Work Cottage. The building is a historic home converted into a coworking space, and offers open workspace as well as private conference rooms. Located in the Gaslight Village, one can conduct meetings at the Cottage or head out to any of the delicious local restaurants. Even better, John Collin’s Park is nearby for a stroll to clear your head. Membership starts at $150/month, but the first day is free of charge so you can get a feel. (This space has since closed.)
Now what are you waiting for? Get to work!
Here’s a handy dandy website that displays all the coworking spaces available around the globe!