Winter Park’s First Coworking Space
Have you ever dreamed of calling a place like the Fraser Valley home, but don’t know how to make it work with your full-time job? Maybe you live here full time but are cooped up working from your basement.
Blue Arrow, a coworking space located in the Winter Park Station in downtown Winter Park, provides a new way for entrepreneurs, freelancers and remote workers to live and work in Grand County.
Jayson Harris, Founder of The Perk Coffee Co., started to see a growing rise of people working from laptops in his coffee shop. After talking with locals who were showing up every day to work in his shop, he decided to invest in setting up a coworking space across the street for entrepreneurs and remote workers to have a place set up shop full time.
For those unfamiliar with the coworking concept, it’s basically described in its simplest form as “shared office space with good vibes.” It’s a membership-based concept to allow people who work from laptops, whether that be an entrepreneur/freelancer or a remote worker, to share the cost of office space that would normally cost 5-10x the cost of a membership.
“One issue with working from a coffee shop is that you never know if you’re going to get a seat, or more importantly, a seat by an outlet. Also, most people come into coffee shops to socialize, and it creates a distraction for people who are actually serious about getting their work done. I always see people getting up to go outside to take a phone call, and people always ask me if there’s a quieter place to take a video conference call,” says Harris.
Harris’s eye for design is second to none, and for those of you who have been in The Perk would likely agree. His efforts have created a modern, energetic feel at Blue Arrow for the creative type to flourish while also being something that feels familiar to the tech industry worker who has moved up from the Front Range.
One of the daily remote workers in the coffee shop, Austin Gray, was a believer in the concept from the beginning. Gray, an entrepreneur from Denver working in the tech industry, started working from the coffee shop after getting tired of working by himself in his home office.
“I feel like I was put on this earth to interact with other people. Being inside my house day after day working alone got old quick, so I started working from the coffee shop a couple days a week just to be around other humans. Although, I was battling the typical “WiFi poacher’s guilt” when sitting in Jayson’s coffee shop all day on my computer. When Jayson brought the idea of the coworking space to me, I was totally for it as the thought of having a dedicated space to work every day without distraction sounded like the best of both worlds,” says Gray.
After hours of collaboration between the two on the big picture strategy, Harris decided to bring Austin on as a co-founder in the company.
“We want to be a community focused space that encourages entrepreneurship and collaboration. Our mission is to provide a platform for individuals to obtain access to any information needed in starting a new venture. One of our main focus points is to be a bridge between mentors and mentees. We want people to be able to get their questions answered from people who have already been through similar business situations,” says Gray.
Blue Arrow offers access to high speed and highly secured private networks, a conference room, office materials, and a highly productive environment with modern, energetic vibes.
While the space was created to be a place for locals to collaborate, it’s also meant to serve outside tourists needing to get work done while on vacation.
“One of our main success stories up to this point was a perfect example of how the space can provide value to tourists who are supporting our economy. A tourist who worked for Google was here with his family on vacation. He told me he was totally expecting to have to work 5 days from the coffee shop due to the distracted environment he was planning on working in. When he found out we had a coworking space, he was able to spend all day in our focused environment and complete all of his work for the week. He told me that this literally “saved his vacation,” and allowed him to focus the rest of the week on spending quality time with his family,” says Harris.
The coworking space concept works similar to a gym membership. Different levels of pricing provide different levels of workspace access. For more information on the different membership levels, visit www.bluearrowcoworking.com
Ar big win for the local company was landing a partnership with Green Spaces, a coworking space in the RiNo district in Denver. This partnership was negotiated to allow Blue Arrow members access to complementary days at Green Spaces each month and vice versa.
Along with their partnership with Green Spaces, they have also strategically partnered with the edtech (education technology) company, CodeBeetle.io, to host local classes teaching principles of technology for locals who are interested in furthering their education in technology.
“We believe that technology is the future, therefore we want to provide locals with as many opportunities as possible to stay on top of the curve,” Harris states.
The space will be offering its first class, a six-week coding course for $1,200, in June. For more information, please visit http://www.codebeetle.io/bluearrowcoworking/
“Whether you’re just out of high school looking to break into the tech industry, or you’re a long-term resident looking to get into a new career, we believe that tech is driving the growth of our economy,” said Gray. “We want to provide platforms for people to learn here in Grand County.”