Should we have co-working space in Brattleboro?

BRATTLEBORO — When we two Vermonters walked into a co-working space in San Francisco, we gasped. In front of us was a large room with long tables at which people were sitting at laptops.

It was quiet. Some people were walking around. A tour showed us the phone booths, a conference room, the coffee gallery (of course, it was San Francisco), and upstairs space where companies were renting larger offices.

The space was specifically for “social entrepreneurs.” For us two, who at the time regularly camped out at the Blue Moose, it was a vision of what we lack here.

As a one-person business, I generally work at home. However, there are times when I think it would be really nice to go somewhere where I could work in the company of others. So I go to town, choosing which of the wireless cafes will put up with me nursing a cup of coffee. I'd go to the library, but I do like having a coffee.

I get to live in Vermont because of the Internet and computers. I get paid for a variety of work, all of which is essentially writing, teaching, or coaching. The writing is on the laptop, the teaching by teleconference, and the coaching via videoconferencing.

Being online allows me to do work for companies around the world. I currently have clients in Amsterdam; Baton Rouge, La.; Austin, Texas; Greensboro, N.C., and Brattleboro.

My Internet-dependent employment is not unique.

How many of us are there? Are there enough of us to support a co-working space in town? Would our seasonal visitors help support it?

I can picture a range of memberships with day passes for the occasional user. I've had a dream of creating such a space many times. It would have phone booths, a conference room, and blazingly fast Internet. I daydream about having treadmill desks. It would be visible from the street so that passersby would notice it.

Usually I dismiss the idea with “there aren't enough people to make it work” and “no one will want to pay for something when they already have a home office.” But the idea is nagging at me, so I thought I'd try to find out.

If you think you'd use a co-working space, part-time or full-time or if you want to work on this idea, please contact me at [email protected].

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