We’re so excited to be able to welcome Campus Coworking to the Proximity Network! Campus Coworking is a new space that just opened this January in Jefferson City, Missouri. We recently spoke with co-founders Missy and Sarah to find out what makes their space special.
When did you open your coworking space and what enticed you to do so?
Sarah: We opened January 1, 2019. As of right now, we have been open 24 days! Whoohoo! This whole idea of bringing coworking to Jefferson City came from our local 1 Million Cups organizers. When they launched 1 Million Cups in Jefferson City it was, and still is, a huge success. Because of their success, people on the organizing team thought our city would be ready for coworking space. At the time, I was a full-time high school teacher, but I wanted to help and be a part of this. After the end of last school year, I decided it was time to move on to something else and Missy and I haven’t looked back.
Tell us about your space. How big is it? What kinds of amenities do you have?
Missy: Our space is 5,000sqft
Sarah: We offer Fiber internet, 24/7 access, a large conference room and small conference room with whiteboards, printing, office supplies, classes offered by local business experts, free parking, incoming and outgoing mail, phone booths for private calls, short term lockers, onsite food, a shared retail space for local makers, and coffee!
What sort of quirks make it special?
Missy: One of my favorite things is that we have pieces of furniture from all of these old, iconic businesses that have existed or still do exist in Jefferson City. We have lockers that the nurses used at a major hospital that closed a few years ago. We have wooden tables that have been resealed from an old shoe factory – it still had square nails! We have chairs from a beloved clothing store and we have the perfect storage cabinet that we use for members’ mailboxes from the oldest plumbing company in town. They’re unique, can’t be found again, and represent a line of history and successful businesses in our hometown.
What is your favorite thing about operating a coworking space?
Missy: The opportunity to learn something completely out of my wheelhouse. We’re learning how to be great operators, how to manage more people in our other businesses, how to run a retail store (it’s in the front of the space), and all kinds of good things about construction and city code.
Sarah: I love getting to work around so many different people who are experts in so many different fields. I know that each day when I go to work, I will get to learn something new.
What has been the most surprising/unexpected thing about operating a coworking space?
Missy: How generous our friends, colleagues, family, clients, and strangers have been to help us get started on the right foot. I mean, we always knew there are great people here, but oh. my. gosh. They’re incredible people.
Sarah: I have to totally agree with Missy! One of our members put it out there that we were looking for plants and at our grand opening, so many people walked in the door with plants. We also had people get us cleaning supplies, coffee makers, a microwave, or they just came in and helped us get the space ready. It was truly a team effort.
What’s your favorite story about one of your members?
Missy: Cassie. She’s a poster child. She reached out to us to take part in a giveaway for a blog we write and when she came to deliver her goods we had her meet us at the coworking space while it was still under construction. It was there we learned that she was a full-time nurse about to quit her job and go full time with her business My Fair Ellie selling hair bows. She signed up that week and has used the space to network and find other entrepreneurs in the area. Being in the medical field, she knew no one in this network. It really was perfect timing. Her last day was December 31st and we opened the doors on January 1.
What is your biggest piece of advice for someone wanting to open a space?
Missy: I’m not sure we’re experienced enough to give advice yet, but what I’m learning is that you’re going to need a runway of time for your space to fill so be sure that you don’t take on a space too expensive that you can’t give yourself the necessary time it’s going to take. You (most likely) won’t be full on day one, so know you’ll be upside down for a bit. It’s a matter of how long can you be upside down and is that enough time for your space to take shape?
Sarah: Make sure you work hard every single day (especially in the beginning) to get people through the door. Even if they aren’t looking for a membership, they probably know someone who can use it.