The Denver coworking space is tailor-made for contractors, designers and construction businesses

When you first take a look at the list of coworking space amenities at Tradecraft Industries, trailer parking and access to a 30-yard dumpster might stand out as unusual. But for Tradecraft’s member community of skilled trade professionals, contractors and designers, these shared resources are exactly what they need to help limit overhead and gain greater flexibility for their businesses. Founder Bryce Ballew shared with us the origins of Tradecraft and how his unique concept helps members adapt to volatile demand in the construction industry.

Why did you decide to open a coworking space?

I originally had the idea during the last recession when I saw contractors not able to cut their overhead fast enough to adjust to the contraction of the economy. I imagined what would turn an office from a liability to an asset on the balance sheet and eventually came up with the idea for Tradecraft Industries.

Tell us about your space. What kinds of amenities does it have? What makes it unique?

Our space is designed much differently than most coworking spaces. We designed and built a ground-up facility utilizing shipping containers that double as structure and use for storage of materials. This was important to us not only from a uniquely functional and branding piece, but also as a unique value add for our demographic. Contractors need different amenities than traditional coworking provides, so by offering amenities including trailer parking, storage and a 30-yard dumpster we differentiate ourselves from the competition.

What is your favorite thing about operating a coworking space? 

I’m picking two. The first is pouring beers for members during a happy hour and hearing the banter between individuals and companies. The hilarity and solidarity that ensues when contractors compare jobsite stories, project wins and losses as well as the commiserating of industry experiences never fails to bring a big smile to my face. The second is watching and being a part of companies as they grow and adapt to market conditions. It’s extremely fulfilling to know that our community can play a part in helping small businesses grow and mature.

What’s your favorite story about one of your members?

There are too many to mention, but the one that sticks out is from an original member (we call them OG’s) that started with one office and a high degree of skepticism. He then got a second office. Pretty soon I had to build him a bigger office and he started another company. Just last month, he moved into one of our largest offices, has four companies and is planning to expand to other states.

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

Let’s be honest, all the news these days is bad. What I’ve seen from our community is that people still crave connection and are genuinely respectful and want to help others. Don’t get me wrong, we have some strong personalities at Tradecraft, but our members and guests always seem to talk more about what they have in common and want to learn from each other than prove a point or be “right.”  The opening phrase I hear the most when people are chatting is, “What do you think about…”

What advice would you offer to someone who wants to open a coworking space?

Know your numbers and have a unique value proposition. It’s more than just tables, chairs and coffee. There are so many spaces that look exactly the same. Paint your personality on the wall. When people walk into your space, they should get a sense of what your community is all about. Be off-color and off-beat; funky and inclusive; be unique and allow others to feel connected to the tribe.

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Tradecraft Coworking Denver