BY JENNIFER RICHLER
Let’s say you’re a consultant or freelancer and you enjoy your independence but miss the companionship of co-workers. You frequent coffee shops for the social contact, but get irritated by spotty Internet access and the whining whir of espresso machines. What to do? For Aaron White, Forrest Fowler, and Tyler Henke, the answer was obvious: start Cowork Btown, a shared workspace.
“It all happened organically,” says White, 30, who teamed with Fowler, 22, and Henke, 23, to create Yellow, a software design and development agency. Tired of meeting in restaurants to work, the trio looked for office space downtown, but found the rents too expensive. The solution, they decided, was to lease a workspace and open it up to others. They found just what they were looking for—1,450 square feet—at 117 E. 6th St., in offices formerly occupied by Mediaworks and later the consignment shop Blue Moon.
In all, there are nine dedicated workspaces and several others for part-timers. Coworkers can opt for a dedicated desk with 24-hour access for $255 a month or part-time space (up to 16 hours per week) for $65 a month. People looking for temporary space for a project or other work can nab short-time space for a small donation. All members can use the conference room and, so far, the concept seems to appeal to a variety of people. Current members range in age from 22 to 43.
The Cowork space is already paying some value-added dividends. For example, just by “hanging out together,” members have started to collaborate, says White. Partnerships can be as simple as one software developer helping another with a programming shortcut or as complex as two members in different fields developing a project based on common interests. “We’re trying to move southern Indiana in a more professional, high-tech, intellectual direction,” Fowler says.
After work hours, there are social events, such as Wednesday Night Owls, with beer and pizza. “We want this to be a social hub for like-minded people,” says Henke.