Ypsilanti has joined the local coworking movement with the opening of GoWork at 9 S. Washington St. in downtown Ypsi.
Kyle Thibaut, GoWork cofounder and head of technology, says he and GoWork's other two cofounders (Andrew Sereno, head of operations, and Clayton Smith, head of community) envision their coworking space being not just a convenience for entrepreneurs and startups, but a hub for building community.
The three cofounders decided they wanted to bring the coworking concept to Ypsilanti and began brainstorming and searching for a space in March. They powered through permit and licensing issues and remodeling the space and were able to get the business up and running in a remarkably short time, opening to the public June 1.
GoWork aims to set itself apart from other coworking spaces by emphasizing four key elements: accessibility to all, 24/7 access, community resources and events, and comfort and amenities.
Thibaut says the cofounders aim to provide the lowest-cost local coworking space by far, and GoWork provides a digital key code so that patrons can access the space at any time. Not having to have an employee staff the building 24/7 helps keep costs low.
Comfort and amenities include providing a variety of seating options, lockers, and mailboxes, as well as snacks and drinks.
The community-building piece is something that will take longer to roll out, Thibaut said.
The cofounders are already participating in Ypsi's "First Fridays" events and will continue to do so. At a future First Friday event, visitors will have the opportunity to have one free, professional headshot taken for a LinkedIn profile or other social media profile.
The cofounders also envision having clinics, workshops, and lessons in the space. Additionally, GoWork wants to connect its users to other professionals in the area, helping entrepreneurs and startups working out of the space connect to experts with knowledge about legal matters, finance, marketing and advertising, and other services, Thibaut says.
"That's fairly far out in the future, but that's the vision," Thibaut says. "We want to connect people within the space and connect people in our coworking space to people out in the community offering services."
GoWork is offering space completely free for the month of June, both to draw in potential users and to get feedback on how the space could be improved. After the free period, users can buy day passes or get a monthly membership that includes priority access to a private conference room.
Sarah Rigg is a freelance writer and editor in Ypsilanti Township. You may reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
All photos courtesy of GoWork.