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Monday, July 31, 2017
Co-working space to ‘pop up’ in River District
After Lenny Keesee was told he could no longer work from home, he started looking into creating a co-working space in Danville with his wife, Lacey.
“It’s the bridge between folks running a business out of their home and going into your own dedicated office space,” Keesee said. “It allows entrepreneurs a tremendous amount of additional runway.
Keesee was with a company that allowed him to work out of his house until the company changed hands. He was given the option of moving to Charlotte, North Carolina, or leaving the company.
That’s what made him start looking into a co-working space as a compromise between working from home and working in an office.
He ended up leaving the company before he could pitch the idea, but he still wants to help others.
Co-working spaces are real offices built for entrepreneurs and freelance workers.
“They aren’t committing to a full lease and all the other expenses that go into your own office,” he said. “It’s all the entrepreneurs working together out of a shared environment, and helping each other out.”
Entrepreneurs can rent exactly the kind of space they need — whether it’s a seat at a conference table, a dedicated desk or their own office.
Working with Danville’s Economic Development Office and the Industrial Development Authority, the couple planned a pop-up event next week to gauge interest in the project.
The free pop-up event will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday-Thursday and from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday in the former Bobby Carlson studio, 312 Main St, Suite 200 in Danville.
“We’re excited about this opportunity, Danville Economic Development Assistant Director Cori Teague Bobe said. “We feel that co-working spaces really add to the entrepreneurial spirit that’s developing within our community. This will give entrepreneurs space to gather and share ideas, and expand and market their companies throughout the region.
“A lot of older businesses have a stigma against working from home,” Keesee said. “We got some traction and some interest, so we figured we’d see if we could do it.”
They hope to have 15 to 20 people sign up to be founding members, at which point they will sign a lease that will suit the needs of their members. Keesee said he hopes to sign a lease at one of the IDA’s properties downtown.
“I think we’re getting close to finding our charter members,” Keesee said. “If we don’t, we’ll probably drop back and re-evaluate and see if we can do another pop-up event and see what we can do.
“We’ll have a conference table set up, a few small offices, etc all free of charge,” Keesee explained. “We want to show people in Danville what co-working is all about.”