WAYNESBORO – Downtown Waynesboro has many amenities for new and emerging entrepreneurs, but this month it celebrates a new milestone: a free co-working space with Wi-Fi, shared printing equipment, a reservable conference room for meetings, and more.
Co-working, heralded in major cities across the United States as the latest trend for independent, freelancing, and entrepreneurial professionals, is a concept that merges the spirit of the start-up with the support of collaborative space. Often providing low-cost and flexible work environments, co-working spaces allow entrepreneurs to access amenities not otherwise traditionally available to home offices or solitary store fronts: conference rooms, shared printing equipment, high-speed internet, and often coffee around which new entrepreneurs can swap inspiration, ideas, and skill sets.
Officially opened last week, Waynesboro’s co-working site is located on the second story of The Farmhaus on Main, at 908 West Main Street. The space is made possible through a unique partnership between Grow Waynesboro, a local economic and small business development program, and The Farmhaus on Main. While The Farmhaus sells coffee and specialty pastries and provides livelier work areas in a café setting downstairs, the upstairs of the building contains individual work spaces, a reservable conference table, shared printing equipment, and even the ability to receive business mail for local entrepreneurs, all sponsored by Grow Waynesboro.
“Co-working spaces are often embraced by entrepreneurs because they lower the barriers to entry for new businesses,” says Courtney Cranor, Assistant Economic Development and Tourism Director for the City of Waynesboro. “Launching a new business without large rent expenses or the upfront costs of new office equipment gives many entrepreneurs greater flexibility and risk tolerance in their early and most crucial development phase.”
The Farmhaus on Main, as the host-site for the co-working space, is pleased to be part of the unfolding 2017 energy. “As young entrepreneurs investing in downtown Waynesboro, we are excited to be a part of this new partnership, and also to meet and interact with local start-up entrepreneurs utilizing the space,” says Bethany Mallory, co-founder of The Farmhaus on Main. “As local business owners, we have so much to learn from each other, and I hope we can all benefit from being more connected and engaged in a network of local entrepreneurship.”
Already The Farmhaus has seen participation from high school students, realtors and builders who have used portions of the upstairs working spaces while the final touches on the co-working renovations have been completed. Carrie Waller, a local entrepreneur and blogger behind dreamgreendiy.com, notes that “When my husband and I moved to Waynesboro, I remember craving a space where I could work outside of our new home alongside fellow creatives. Now, I’m able to schedule one day a week to hit the café, with laptop and to-do list in hand. This gives me the option of a working hub, and also a space where I can meet new people and stay in-the-know about area happenings. I can’t tell you how many creative collaborations and partnerships have come about just by having The Farmhaus available for co-working! It’s inspiring, to say the very least.”
For Waynesboro, Courtney Cranor notes that “the breadth of assistance needed by new entrepreneurs is wide, ranging from mentorship to affordable spaces to networks of support and connection. We see providing a co-working space as one tool in a broader toolbox to provide a comprehensive suite of services to new businesses in Waynesboro.”
Both Grow Waynesboro and The Farmhaus on Main will be eagerly watching the usage patterns of the new co-working site. “This is a pilot program for us,” says Cranor. “If we see strong local demand, increasing space, amenities, and investment in the project are all long-term possibilities. We are excited to be launching this program and look forward to watching it grow in the years to come.”
Grow Waynesboro is a local economic and small business development program made possible with the generous support of Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development, The City of Waynesboro, and Waynesboro Economic Development Authority.
For additional information, or to reserve the conference table, please e-mail The Farmhaus on Main at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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