Port Huron is a bustling hub of innovation, energy, and connectedness, easily seen in the success of its contemporary co-working spaces. Matt Brooks, the mastermind behind Loft 912, will be opening a new one called The Roost later this month.
The idea for a sister site to Loft 912, a co-working space that opened in 2014, has been in the works for well over a year, but Gordon Whitney works hard to get The Roost ready for opening.Brooks couldn't find the right building for it. Then, at the beginning of October, he bought the 100-year-old building at 525 Court St.
Brooks is the founder of ELEVEN19, Blue Water Startups and Entrepreneurs, Continue Marketing, Advanced Ministries, and The Marriage Group, so he is never one to let ideas sit. In just a few short months, he has completely renovated The Roost's home, hiring out painting, carpeting, and the resurfacing of hardwood floors. He has been pulling late nights along with employees Grant Moore and Gordon Whitney to get the building physically prepared for such a quick opening.
Co-working offers entrepreneurs and freelancers a shared workspace and creates a productive headspace. Places like Loft912 and The Roost, similar to The Underground business incubator in Sperry's, have office necessities, meeting areas, and WiFi. They provide validity in an official space to meet up with clients. Another pro: instead of working from home getting distracted by chores or staring at a blank computer screen, co-working spaces get those who use them motivated.
Fostering ideas and innovation
"Entrepreneurs often suffer from lack of motivation or accountability since they don't have anybody to answer to. The relationships developed through a co-working space can lead to a sense of accountability," Brooks says.
More than anything, co-workers become part of a networking community of encouragers and advice-givers who are at least like-minded enough to see the value in co-working and likely have similar career paths. It is motivating to see others reaching toward their goals.
"I think working from home sucks. Similarly, I'm not a fan of meeting clients at a coffee shop or book store. There's great value in ‘going to work' even if you're a one-man show," Brooks says.
Plenty of options
The Apartment co-working spaceThe Roost's opening is a natural progression. Loft 912 started out simply as a useful venue available to rent for off-site meetings and events. In 2015, it expanded, and the co-working area was set up. Brooks says Loft 912 has 10 to 20 active members depending on the season.
Keeping with the progression, The Roost differs from its sister site in that it will host private offices, though there will still be a large, open space called The Apartment on the top floor of the three-story building. Members can get the best of both worlds. The Apartment even has a full kitchen and balcony that will be enhanced in the spring, overlooking the American Legion, McMorran Tower, and the Federal Building.
Aesthetics will also vary. Brooks says The Roost has "a style and vibe all its own." Loft 912 is bright and unique with loads of personality. The Roost has sink-into-the-cushion furniture upstairs with sophisticated neutral and warm colors throughout. It evokes a sense of comfort and calm…but don't take that as dismal or boring. A brazen welded rooster near the restroom stands out as it is 8 feet tall, reminding co-workers that this homey space is meant to bring about creativity, too.
Many people working for themselves or starting new businesses aren't in the money-making stages of their plans yet. Brooks' first office, for instance, was his camper parked in his driveway. The Roost has very reasonable rates. Private office spaces are $200 each month, and flexible co-working memberships are $30 to $150 per month. Day passes are available, as well.
"I absolutely LOVE entrepreneurship…Entrepreneurs are among the most exciting, relentlessly positive people around, and so I feel fortunate to be able to connect with them and to be a part of their success," Brooks says.
This mindset in Port Huron is not only spreading, but being embraced by people like Brooks. Co-working spaces like The Roost show that modern business is celebrated in the city.