We’re excited to welcome Percolator Space to the Proximity Network! With four locations in downtown Norfolk, Virginia, Percolator Space offers workspaces for teams of all sizes, as well as local perks like a free gym membership and discounts to neighborhood businesses. Passionate about taking away the financial risk of yearly leasing that many entrepreneurs and startups deal with, Percolator is helping bring the focus back to growth and creativity. We caught up with co-owner Bobby Wright to discuss what its been like bringing coworking to Norfolk!
When did you open your coworking space and what enticed you to do so?
We are approaching our third birthday. As a developer of commercial real estate in the local area, I noticed that many of the creative class, entrepreneurs, and freelancers were developing great ideas and starting new companies, but the founder and team were not connected to a supportive community. They were prone to leave the area looking for relationships, mentors, talent and staffing, money and just plain support, especially at the top with the CEOs. As you know entrepreneurship can be very lonely, and if you don’t have a supportive community and team, you can find yourself second-guessing your ideas and your abilities. With this in mind, Percolator was birthed. It also didn’t hurt that as a developer of real estate, I was in numerous real estate partnerships and some of the buildings had vacancies and I felt that we needed to fill those spaces in a different way because the world is changing and the brick and mortar footprint is reducing for most companies. I discussed my idea for a collaborative/innovative coworking community growing within our partnerships, and quickly my partners agreed that it was a great idea. Today, we have expanded to include properties like MacArthur Center in our network of downtown campuses.
Tell us about your space. How big is it?
Percolator campuses are Granby campus 10,000 ft.², Monticello campus 20,000 ft.², MacArthur campus 5000 ft.², and Ford Campus 5000 ft.² with a large outdoor patio.
What kinds of amenities do you have?
We have five collaboration rooms that will accommodate up to 15+ people each, and one training room which will accommodate up to 70 people. Audio/visual accommodations are available with every collaboration/training room. High-speed fiber internet, new Xerox copiers, membership privileges including classes at the contiguous gym downtown (our sister company). B2B discounts with some of downtown’s best restaurants and retailers. Of course, we offer free coffee, tea, and snacks (both healthy and not so healthy).
What sort of quirks make it special?
Our number one goal is to ”facilitate relationships“. We work very diligently and purposefully to get to know our members on as many levels as they will allow so that we can connect them with other members and relationships outside of Percolator. Our openness to share our Rolodex and be a family benefits our members and guests individually and corporately. We really do try to be very much like family which is difficult as we continue to grow, but it is our commitment to “facilitate relationships”.
What is your favorite thing about operating a coworking space?
I’ve always loved working with different people, businesses and “dipping my toe” into their world for a day or two as a commercial real estate broker. I love people and I celebrate their success so creating an environment that is attractive to others and finding like-minded people has been easier than I expected. Every day is different and most days are so fulfilling, I literally thank God for Percolator…it is my calling.