We are so done.
Calling it quits…
with our home office, that is.
Benjamin has been working from home since the beginning of 2015, Sharayah since this past fall. It took a mere 5 months of working from home together to realize that we were ready for an office – which is totally has nothing to do with us getting sick of only seeing each other, right?
Alright, that might have something to do with it.
The real reason we are shifting our base is the struggle to feel established in the Eugene community, and the idea that it might be difficult to sell our services to businesses in our pj’s. Now, we’re not saying it’s impossible – especially in the tech community, but we want to expand in the next year and having a separate space in a professional setting is a clear part of that vision.
There is something to be said about having two distinct places for work and home. We hope an office space will eliminate the worst of the pull of those nagging feels that come about when working from home. The urges to take a ‘short break’ that warps into taking care of that chore that certainly must need doing right away. Or a snack… That turns into a little couch time.. which turns may into a Netflix marathon… those sorts of things.
We have already felt the emerging tech presence in downtown Eugene, the hustle and bustle of a place that’s reaching its tipping point into being in full bloom. We are eager to join it – and perhaps bring it to the surface a bit more. So our quest began.
Our quest for our new ‘home away from home’ quickly turned into battle of the co-working offices vs. traditional rental suite. Both were within our office budget and both have their own strengths and weaknesses. We had limited experience with co-working spaces and what to expect, but in short time we became fascinated with them and decided to explore all of our local options.
Our first stop was Eugene MindWorks, over on 5th Avenue. The curb appeal, the slew of amenities, and the professional interior environment tickled our fancy. Eugene Mindworks opened in July 2014. Aloma Murray, co-owner of MindWorks, mentioned to us that it’s grown considerably in the last three years, “We expanded three times in the first year and now occupy almost the entire second floor of the building.” This sort of growth is not unusual for co-working spaces, especially in Eugene.
Mindworks has two coworking options: flex desks or private offices within the space. After leaving, we weren’t 100% sure if just having two floating desks in a common area would fit with what we envisioned, but we liked the private offices. Aloma advertises Eugene Mindworks as “…a professional working atmosphere for it’s members and their clients,” so as you can imagine the atmosphere was a lot different than our current accommodations at home. Mindworks was a great first stop for us, and gave us a better idea of what we would need.
We went to Fertilab Thinkubator next, and met with Shula Jaron, founder of Fertilab. Fertilab was established in June of 2013 at 3090 Lincoln St. She described it to us as a big open warehouse space with just a few desks, and at the time no other co-working spaces existed besides Code Chops. The initial goal was to “get people to get to know each other within the startup community.” Fertilab flourished with many entrepreneurs and a number of biotech startups moving in. In time, Fertilab outgrew the warehouse and moved to their current location about a year ago. Shula is excited with the evolution, “Our mission hasn’t really changed- what we look like and how we’re functioning has definitely transformed since the start.”
Honestly, having something like Fertilab’s part-time or full-time membership options would have been perfect for us a year ago when we were still in our Brainstorming mode. Fertilab’s prices are extremely attractive considering everything you are getting – unlimited fresh coffee, beer on tap, and access to networking such as RAIN Eugene – a sample of our favorite features. We felt like Fertilab was the most plugged in to what is going on in the Eugene startup and entrepreneur scene.
At this point we were leaning away from a coworking space, but on Shula’s advice, we checked out CodeChops just to get a feel for the rest of the local coworking.
Greeted by a kegerator, couches, and plenty of unicorns (even a legendary zebracorn) CodeChops definitely has its own flavor. Though Mark Davis, the co-owner, wasn’t there, one of the coworking members spent the time to show us around and give us a rundown. Later, Mark gave Benjamin a rundown of CodeChops history and culture,
“CodeChops was established in 2011 in the newly remodeled Broadway Commerce Center, because coworking was missing from the downtown office space landscape. Originally it was a Bring-your-own-desk situation and we’d pass the hat for Coffee and Keg funds. We’ve continually re-invested back into the space and have a more consistent feel and more on the walls.” (hence the aforementioned unicorns)
It is the pioneer of coworking in Eugene. They’ve kept it real, it has a great welcoming vibe with plenty of character. “It’s the most concomitantly inconsistent space in town.” Mark declared of CodeChops.
Ultimately, and somewhat ironically, we found a suite in some coworking offices without realizing that it used to be Atlantis Coworking – a lost city we kept hearing about but weren’t wholly convinced actually ever existed. The Washburne Coworking Suites have undergone a revival of sorts, with a lot of new improvements and fiber internet in route. We’re excited to be there, it’s our new launching pad. The proximity to Killer Burger is also a big selling point for us, but we swear it isn’t what pushed us to make the decision.
Long story short, this is a moving announcement. Short story long (if you’ve made it this far), we hope that our experience exploring Eugene offices and coworking spaces, gave you some insight into options for your own future endeavors. If you happen to be in the neighborhood – we’re in The Washburne (above Shadowfox, the Davis, and that flashy nightclub, Cowfish) Suite 250 C, Agora Media Group.
Come by for a visit! We’d love the company. Maybe we’ll even take you over to CodeChops for a beer, our treat.
written by Benjamin & Sharayah Barr
Benjamin and Sharayah Barr, both Oregon born and raised, have been living in Eugene since 2015. As individuals, they have had a passion for tech since childhood, though this often took the form of video games and social media. Initially dabbling in other fields of work, they somehow have navigated their way into the Tech Industry and are here to stay. Together they own and run Agora Media Group- specializing in web design, Local/Global SEO, and marketing. If you like what you read, see more at their blog Married to Tech.