In an early 1900s building that formerly housed a fire station, the town jail and the town hall, Anne Timpe saw an opportunity to create a central hub for small businesses, freelancers and remote workers in the Kutztown, Pennsylvania community. We spoke with Anne to learn how kTown Hall transformed an old downtown building into a new gathering place for local professionals and traveling visitors.

Why did you decide to open a coworking space?

We initially had been looking for office space for my husband’s growing software company, but after finding out that the town’s 1915-era old Town Hall building was for sale, we saw a great opportunity to turn the rest of the commercial space into a coworking space. Our own travel experiences while working had shown us the value of coworking spaces. The community, which is a college town, is growing and providing more opportunities for businesses and families and coworking seemed like a natural fit for both the space and the location.

What kinds of amenities do you have? What makes your space unique?

We have approximately 2,500 square feet in our coworking space which includes a large open space, two small private offices and a conference room. We offer free, unlimited caffeine in our kitchen, ROOM pods for private conversations, live plants, airy and modern decor and mail service. We also have an old-fashioned phone booth taken from a local hotel, artwork murals designed and painted by an art student from the local university, and 20-foot long reclaimed chestnut tables that form the heart of the community space. There are original oil stains from fire trucks on the wood floors from the 1920s when the building was the fire station, bars on the back office windows from when it was the local jail, and the words “Town Hall” on the front facade of the building from when it housed the local municipality.

What is your favorite thing about operating a coworking space?

By far, my favorite aspect of operating kTown Hall has been building relationships with other business owners in the area. Their industry expertise, business acumen and community knowledge has been professionally helpful and personally gratifying. We’re looking forward to offering network events and business growth opportunities in order to further that sense of community with our members.

What has been the most surprising or unexpected thing about operating a coworking space?

The most surprising aspect about operating a coworking space has been the positive response from the community and offers of help. I guess surprised isn’t the right word—overwhelmed and touched, perhaps!

What advice do you have for someone who’d like to open a coworking space?

Think of your community first. Not only will it direct whether or not your business plan is a good fit for your location, but it will inform every decision you make, from how you decorate your space to what amenities you offer. Coworking has tons of different facets and amazing possibilities, but the most successful ones, and the ones that help your members most, will be what works for your individual community.

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