Naperville chamber jumps into coworking to fill office space
During the past five years, as the coworking movement has built steam across the suburbs, facilities have been born out of innovation, creativity and the entrepreneurial need for a good place to work.
Now, in Naperville, a coworking center is taking shape from an opportunity the Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce spotted to better use its office space. Based in a multiuse building with restaurants and retail on the ground floor and a variety of offices above, the chamber's space at 55 S. Main St., Suite 351, isn't fully occupied.
"We definitely have a large space, and it's not all being utilized," said Becky Egan, finance director.
So chamber officials thought, why not be creative? And why not open up the space to members or nonmembers who can use it to conduct their own business?
"If they would like to use this as a coworking space," Egan said, "let's see what happens."
What's happened so far, since the chamber introduced the concept in a social media post last week and an email blast Tuesday, is two potential co-workers have visited to get a feel for the space. The chamber hopes it could meet their needs, especially for professionalism.
"I think there's a lot of people that work from home that are looking for a space to meet with clients -- and not necessarily in the Starbucks," Egan said. "It'll give them more privacy."
The chamber's coworking space comes after the establishment of at least 15 other shared office facilities in the suburbs, including 25N Coworking in Geneva and Arlington Heights, the Elgin Technology Center, the female-targeted Klique in downtown Naperville and Fox. Build in St. Charles, among others.
It joins a movement that includes more than 4,500 coworking spaces nationwide and 17,700 worldwide this year, according to research conducted by Small Business Labs, which tracks and forecasts the trends in small business and the gig economy.
Each facility is different in the technology and amenities it offers -- some focus on manufacturing, others on digital technology, yet others on design or creative fields.
The chamber's office space includes internet, coffee, a receptionist and waiting room for clients, access to a kitchen with a refrigerator and microwave, printing, scanning and on-site meeting space, not to mention a mailing address in downtown Naperville. Four cubicles and two private offices are available.
Pricing starts with the cheapest option: $30 a day, $90 a week or $270 a month for a chamber member wanting shared access to a desk, although not necessarily the same desk every day. The most expensive option is use of a private office for $85 a day, $250 a week or $750 a month.
Egan said chamber members get a discount and nonmembers are welcome, but at a higher rate. Through Jan. 17, the chamber is offering the first coworking visit free. For details about coworking at the chamber, call (630) 355-4141.