Coworking in the Traverse City WharfBy Kyle Pollock on January 25th, 2013 /
Bradley Matson, a Traverse City native, left his hometown with his wife Kirsten, to both work for a software company based out of Tucson, Arizona. Matson was excited about what he and his wife could bring to an organization in Tuscon, but little did he know what it is that they would bring back. In Tuscon, he fell in love with the co-working environment and knew he had to bring this to Northwestern Michigan.
Matson and his wife returned to Michigan this past spring and immediately tried to replicate his coworking experience, visiting coffee shops and libraries, but it wasn’t the same. In the search for a coworking space, Matson found similar people on the same path as him. He began a meetup group called Traverse City Coworking Enthusiasts made up of small business owners and remote workers. Noticing the interest started to gain some traction, he seized the opportunity to invest in a space near the Marina in the West Arm of the Grand Traverse Bay. Renovation began and Bradley and Kirsten co-founded CoWharf this December. Prior to their launch party on 12/12/12, 30 members had already signed up.
A “wharf” is where ships may tie up and load or unload on the shore, and this is fitting for a place for entrepreneurs and explorers to stop by on their journey to uncover new areas and reach new heights. Now, more members are coming in and out. Many are programmers, designers, photographers, startups and corporate employees all working together in one place.
The 1,700 sq. ft. space is located on 140 East Front Street in Traverse City, Michigan and includes a large conference area for business meetings, a coffee and kitchen area for lunch time, and lockers to store personal items. For more details go to Cowharf.com or drop by for a working day to see for yourself. The space often holds small conferences or workshop events on the weekend to help it’s members and the business community.
“Coworking is more than just working side by side. There’s a synergy you get form the people working around you. I’ve worked at home in the past for up to for 5 years and the biggest difference is if you’re stuck on a serious technical issue, you don’t have people around to immediately ask for help.”
As for his next steps, Bradley says he’s currently building an online directory of resources and a network of Venture Capitalists for CoWharf members.
CoWharf is hosting a Lean Startup Workshop on February 2nd for entrepreneurs in Northwestern Michigan. Matson says it is open to all and will be helpful for people who either have ideas to start a business or any established startup that wants to learn more, and get involved with the growing Traverse City Startup Community. Other future events include a Startup Weekend at CoWharf planned for the weekend prior to the Traverse City Film Festival, and a Michigan Meetup during SXSW on March 8th at Champion Sports Bar in Austin, Texas.
For more information on coworking spaces and incubators, visit our Michigan Business Incubator post.
Photos via CoWharf.