Ypsi coworking space Back Office Studio celebrates busy first year with free open house event

Coworking space Back Office Studio (BOS) will mark its first anniversary with a free, public celebration from 5-7 p.m. Feb. 20 at 13 N. Washington St. in Ypsilanti.


BOS community manager John Newman says the event will be open house-style and will include free food and drinks. There will also be a short program in which staff will give an update on the BOS' first year and thank members and guests.


In 2019, the BOS hosted 514 events and meetings and rented offices, desks, or conference rooms to 135 members. Staff brewed 152 pounds of coffee as well, Newman says.


Local organizations that had memberships or occasionally used space at the BOS included Ypsilanti Community Schools, Growing Hope, the Youth Arts Alliance, the Heritage Festival, the A2Y Chamber, New Economy Initiative, SPARK, and a local Toastmasters chapter.


"One thing that's been a surprise is that we attracted so many nonprofits, especially art nonprofits," Newman says. "We've also had two different theater groups, Spinning Dot Theatre and Neighborhood Theatre Group, use our space."


Growing Hope's involvement at the BOS was an unexpected turn of events after the nonprofit experienced a fire in its office in September 2019. Growing Hope expects to stay at the BOS through April while the nonprofit's farm house is restored.


"Another surprise was how many remote workers were a part of our clientele, either working for an organization in another state or even another country," Newman says.


The BOS also provided space for a wedding when a couple's original venue abruptly cancelled. And on April 11, 2019, after an explosion at a business off Carpenter Road, the BOS opened its space to families who had to evacuate, along with their nine dogs and two cats.


Newman says the BOS is about 70% full, but that percentage is likely to drop a little when Growing Hope moves out.


The BOS' focus areas for 2020 will include "business education and development, promoting Ypsilanti as a place to do great work, and attracting offsite meeting clients," Newman says. He says he'd particularly like to make people aware of the four conference rooms available at the BOS.


Newman says existing members and people who are completely unfamiliar with the BOS are all invited to the Feb. 20 event.


"We'll be giving people tours and having a great time," he says. "Anyone who is curious about co-working or about Back Office Studio should come and check us out."


The event is free, but attendees are encouraged to RSVP on the BOS' website.


Sarah Rigg is a freelance writer and editor in Ypsilanti Township and the project manager of On the Ground Ypsilanti. She joined Concentrate as a news writer in early 2017 and is an occasional contributor to other Issue Media Group publications. You may reach her at sarahrigg1@gmail.com.

Photos courtesy of Back Office Studio.

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