Seven Kootenay co-working spaces (and one on the horizon) offer community and creative collaboration

Co-working spaces offer many benefits for entrepreneurs and business start-ups

by Julie Matchett
Ground Floor Co-Working space showing stairs and upstairs offices.

The Ground Floor in Cranbrook offers a modern, welcoming space for entrepreneurs, business start-ups and innovators. — Photo courtesy Marie Milner

Remote work is becoming much more commonplace. Not only are entrepreneurs, freelancers and professional nomads drawn to the flexibility that working from home can offer, it’s also become a reality for many of us in the midst of a global pandemic. But it’s also a lonely life—working remotely can be isolating. It can also be difficult to get quality work done with family distractions and obligations. Cue the growing attraction to co-working spaces.

According to an article by Small Business BC, there are many benefits to co-working spaces. Social interaction with like-minded peers, a sense of structure and a reason to get out of your pajamas and into the real world are all draws. It’s a proven fact that collaboration increases creativity—networking with others oftens helps us to remain productive and focused on our work. And of course, there are the financial benefits. Running a business or a start-up is expensive—the ability to reduce costs by sharing office space and office equipment with others is a definite plus.

Read on and discover what the Kootenays can offer in terms of collaborative and innovative co-working spaces for professionals, entrepreneurs, creatives and business start-ups with these eight spaces.

Cranbrook - The Ground Floor Coworking Space

Striving to create a culture of collaboration, The Ground Floor Coworking Space is designed to be a modern and welcoming environment for a variety of innovators. Membership plans are available and offer a range of different options—from the business person who simply wants a mailing address and reception service to the professional who needs a suite of private offices. The Ground Floor Coworking Space is service-focused and offers concierge services, such as simple errands, arranging package deliveries, or scanning and photocopying documents.

Features and amenities: There’s an array of services designed to facilitate a productive work environment—private phone booths, a recording booth and reception services are available. A self-serve kitchenette and lounge areas offer the opportunity to network and socialize with fellow professionals. The Ground Floor Coworking Space is open 24/7 for members.

Location: 131 7th Avenue South, Cranbrook

How to contact: 778-517-8800; [email protected]

Fernie - Fernie Common

Professional nomads, entrepreneurs and innovators are welcome at the Fernie Common, an ideal space to host clients and meet other like-minded people. Private and semi-private workspaces are available as well as hot desk and boardroom rentals. Fernie Common offers daily, weekly and monthly memberships.

Features and amenities: Member perks include exclusive event invitations, high-speed internet, meeting room time and free coffee, espresso, tea and filtered water in their modern kitchen.

Location:1602 - 9th Avenue, Fernie

How to contact: [email protected]

Fernie - 2nd Edition Coworking 

A brand new community co-working space in Fernie is on the horizon. Slated to open in late fall in Fernie's downtown core, the space is currently being renovated and will be run by the Fernie Chamber of Commerce. The Fernie Chamber’s Executive Director Brad Parsell explains, “The name of the coworking space is a tip of the hat to its convenient downtown location on Fernie’s 2nd Avenue. It also acknowledges the legacy of the building which has been home to the Fernie Free Press newspaper for generations." Stay tuned for developments on this exciting addition to the City of Fernie. 

Location: 342 2nd Avenue, Fernie

How to contact: An email database and social media accounts have been lauched so that interested people can stay up-to-date on the progress of the space. Visit www.coworkingfernie.com and be the first to know about coworking options, memberships and pricing as those details become available. You also visit the 2nd Edition Coworking Facebook page and Instagram page

Golden - Go-Lab Co-Working Space

Looking for some connection and social contact with other entrepreneurs? Or maybe you’re just feeling a little stir-crazy lately and need to get out of the house to work? Whatever the reason, the Go-Lab Co-Working Space in Golden offers a range of options—flex desks, meeting rooms and collaborative spaces—designed to get your mental muscles flexing in a welcoming, community-centred environment. Both monthly and casual memberships are offered.

Features and amenities: A kitchen and lounge area provide a nice retreat for coffee breaks and interesting conversations. Fixed, flex and private memberships also include the following perks:

  • 5 hours of access per month to the Judge’s Room—a private meeting space
  • Weekly premium coffee delivery
  • Weekly outdoor yoga
  • $5 print credit

Location: 611 10th Avenue North, Golden

How to contact:  250-272-1945; [email protected]

Invermere - The Mountain Hub

A bright, cheery, open-concept space, the Mountain Hub offers professionals and entrepreneurs in the Columbia Valley a welcoming spot to work. Private office and meeting room rentals are available and the business also offers monthly memberships.

Please note: The Mountain Hub is currently closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with a hopeful date of re-opening in the late fall. Their coworking community is still strong and supportive. You can contact The Mountain Hub through their Facebook page.

Features and amenities: Perks at the Mountain Hub include high-speed internet, free coffee, tea and snacks, and access to member events and workshops.

Location: 1036 - 7th Avenue, Invermere

How to contact: The Mountain Hub Facebook page

Outside of the Mountain Hub co-working space.

The Mountain Hub in downtown Invermere offers a bright, cheery spot for professionals and remote workers. — Photo courtesy Mountain Hub Facebook page

Nelson - The Jam Factory

With its industrial vibe and inclusive, welcoming atmosphere, The Jam Factory in downtown Nelson is a hip spot to hang out for the work-from-home crowd, entrepreneurs and creatives. Mindfully organized, the space combines private rooms away from distractions, along with expansive open areas and cozy nooks dotted with comfy furniture—perfect for impromptu meetings and creative collaborations.

Features and amenities: Dog lover? Good news! You and your furry pal are both welcome at The Jam Factory. Other perks include high-speed fibre-optic internet, 24-7 access, gourmet coffee and tea, a modern kitchen, daily meditation resets and weekly yoga classes.

Location: 303 Vernon Street, Nelson

How to contact: 250-352-1101; [email protected]

Revelstoke - Mountain CoLab

A user-owned co-operative with 24-hour, seven-days-a-week availability, the Mountain CoLab offers freelancers, remote workers, entrepreneurs and nonprofits an ideal space for work and creative collaboration. With both private and open-concept facilities, users can choose from several workspace options including dedicated desks and office space. Monthly memberships are available starting at $85 per month.

Features and amenities: Find freshly-brewed coffee, free printing and fantastically fast fibre-optic internet at Mountain CoLab. Facilities also include a boardroom, kitchen and lounge for after-work . . . lounging. 

Location: 101-A Second Street East, Revelstoke

How to contact: [email protected]

People in large room using co-working spaces.

Mountain CoLab in Revelstoke features an open-concept area with several different workspace options. — Photo courtesy Mountain CoLab

Silverton - The Lift

An up-and-coming co-working space, The Lift is run by the non-profit Silverton Co-Work Society. They are currently running on a start-up basis out of the United Church on 324 Alpha Street in Silverton, with plans to renovate space they’ve acquired in the old general store as a permanent location.

Location: Temporary location at 324 Alpha Street in Silverton

How to contact: Visit The Lift - Silverton Co-Work Society Facebook page

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