Cubicles, permanent offices and a strict no-talking rule are a few of the things you wont find at Durangos first coworking facility, DurangoSpace. Instead, the space has conference rooms, big tables and private offices, all available for people to reserve for as short as an hour.
Co-owners Nancy Wharton and Jasper Welch describe the space, which opened Feb. 1, as a downtown office available on demand for Durangos office-less professionals, an alternative home office or a coffee shop without distractions.
With different-sized rooms, movable tables and chairs, Internet, digital screens, printers, phones and coffee, Wharton and Welch said they hope to cater to a diverse range of local businesspeople.
People can pay a daily rate to use the space or buy member passes that include more access and discounted prices for other amenities. Private offices are available for rent on a long-term basis.
Since the concept of coworking began in 2005, more than 70 coworking spaces have sprung up around the world, according to the book Im Outta Here: How Coworking is Making the Office Obsolete.
Coworking provides the office of a traditional corporate job but in a very unique way, said Brad Neuberg, who was one of the coworking pioneers.
After hearing about the concept at a business-incubation conference and visiting two coworking spaces in San Francisco last year, Welch and Wharton decided to try to bring the trend to Durango, Welch said.
They saw the potential for the space to succeed here because the area has a variety of entrepreneurial subcultures, from corporate workers who telecommute to independent operators, who could make good use of the space, the pair said.
Theres a multitude of different communities that already exist here who can get together and share ideas, Wharton said.
Another goal is for the space to become an incubator for new business concepts and a hub for networking, the pair said.
Such an opportunity for synergy in a place like DurangoSpace could be attractive for many local businesses, said Joe Keck, director of the Southwest Colorado Small Business Development Center.
From a financial standpoint, DurangoSpace is ideal for small companies around the area that dont yet have the capital to rent full-time offices, Wharton said.
The space could also be a big help to fledgling businesses and entrepreneurs, allowing them to start with less up-front capital, said Gary Linn, dean of the School of Business Administration at Fort Lewis College.
Jim Mackay, who telecommutes and travels frequently for his job with Los Angeles-based SOA Software, said the space would be ideal for someone like himself.
I dont want rented space because I wouldnt be in it enough to justify it, Mackay said. He rented out the DurangoSpace conference room last week to host a meeting of the Durango Technology Group, an informal network of local professionals in the technology industry.
This place feeds the entrepreneurial spirit this town has, said Anne Barney, a member of DurangoSpaces advisory board and director of Giraffe PR, which rents one of DurangoSpaces small offices. This is a big-city type thing, and its another sign that even though were a small town, were up with the rest of the world.
For her, its also a nice break from working out of her home.
Its more of an office than I ever would have been able to afford, she said.