Vail Centre readies new co-working space in The Riverwalk at Edwards
If you go ...
What: Grand opening celebration for second Vail Centre co-working space.
When: 4:30 to 6 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 7.
Where: The new shared space is in The Riverwalk at Edwards, just above Starbucks.
More information: Visit http://www.vailcentre.org.
EDWARDS — Doug Clayton knew he wanted to be involved in the Vail Centre’s co-working space in Avon as soon as he saw it. Clayton is now overseeing the growth of the idea into a second home.
The Vail Centre is a local nonprofit group dedicated to expanding opportunities for entrepreneurs and providing educational programs for managers, business owners and employees. Nearly three years ago, the group opened a co-working space in Avon above Pazzo’s Pizzeria.
The space features desks and some small offices. It also has internet access, printers and the other necessities of office life. People use the space for everything from startups to handling international big business while in the valley.
The popularity of the Avon space, combined with an opportunity in Edwards, led the Vail Centre to expand its operations.
Vail Centre CEO Ross Iverson said the opportunity came when Slifer Designs decided to move its administrative and design offices from the second floor to the first in the space it occupied in The Riverwalk at Edwards.
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The space is owned by Slifer Designs owner Beth Slifer and her husband, Rod.
Iverson said the space — which is still being renovated — is built to continue the Avon space’s appeal to start-up firms. But, he added, there’s also enough space available for growing companies that are starting to add employees.
Place for growth
“We’ve built it so it can be flexible into the future,” Iverson said.
Working with the Vail Centre on a redesign of Slifer Designs’ space, Iverson said the couple is enthusiastically supporting the idea of the co-working space there.
“Beth (Slifer) is so committed to the small-business community — it’s her vision to turn this into a community asset,” Iverson said.
And those who lease space in the Avon center — leases are month-to-month — are a community unto themselves, Clayton said.
“We kind of self-select,” Clayton said. “You can tell immediately when people don’t belong.”
Someone who requires a lot of quiet probably wouldn’t fit in, Clayton said. Conversely, someone who spends a lot of time on the phone isn’t a great fit, either.
Clayton said people using the space get to know each other, while still operating in a professional environment.
“It’s kind of like going to the office when the boss is on vacation,” he said.
That’s what first attracted Clayton, who still works as a freelance tech consultant.
Many of those who use the space need a way to get out of the house, believing they can be more productive in a more formal office environment, Clayton said.
But the cost of co-working space can be much lower than renting even a small office.
“In this market, one deal can be the difference between a good year and a great year,” Iverson said. Keeping overhead down while still having access to office and conference space can help entrepreneurs better manage their margins.
Iverson wants the Edwards space to have the community feel of the one in Avon, but said it’s going to be different. There’s more space, and more flexible space, available.
And there’s already demand for the space in Edwards.
“A guy came in this week who’d just moved here from Florida and has a home in Bachelor Gulch,” Iverson said. “He wanted a cool place,” and was attracted immediately to the space in Edwards.
Given the demand, Iverson said the Vail Centre would eventually like to open up co-working spaces the length of the valley.
“That way you could plug in wherever you are,” he said.
For now, though, there seems to be a good bit of demand for the spaces the Vail Centre has available.
“This is really the future of work,” Clayton said. Besides startups, “We have people who are CEOs (at bigger companies) who want to work here.”
Vail Daily Business Editor Scott Miller can be reached at 970-748-2930, firstname.lastname@example.org and @scottnmiller.