Coworking spaces are places where people collaborate, where overhead costs are low, the vibe is hip, and the coffee is free. Visit any large city and you’ll find a coworking space – bright and open places to settle in with your laptop and enjoy fast internet – a home away from home for your business.
Grand Junction’s first coworking space, FACTORY, opened a yearand- a-half ago at 750 Main Street. “FACTORY is important for our community for so many reasons,” FACTORY co-founder Josh Hudnall says. “Coworking brings creators together under one roof so they can ignite each other through collaboration and form partnerships that never would have developed otherwise.”
FACTORY is owned and operated by Proximity Space, a Western Colorado-based tech startup that creates software and hardware to manage coworking spaces. Currently, Proximity owns three coworking spaces on the Western Slope – in Montrose, Ridgway, and Grand Junction, connecting each, via its Proximity Network, to more than 150 coworking spaces across the world.
Coworking has steadily gained popularity since the early 2000s. The idea is simple: a workplace for creators, artists, designers, developers, and entrepreneurs to share not only a physical space but also an ethos of collaboration and community. For a low monthly subscription, FACTORY provides not only a place to work but also amenities such as modern decor, furniture, conference rooms, an event center, fast gigabit internet, free parking, private offices, a kitchen, and restrooms. In addition, the conference room is a state-ofthe- art FUSE Center which gives users the ability to video conference and collaborate in real time with other users across Colorado.
Community fuels ideas; when working alone, it’s easy to feel isolated and discouraged, and because of this isolation and the perceived lack of jobs, the Grand Valley has had difficulty with retention in the past. “What usually happens is students come here to get education and training, and then they leave immediately after graduating, taking their valuable new skills with them,” says Brian Watson, one of FACTORY’s cofounders. “Now, we’re seeing people starting their own businesses here and thriving. People are moving here and staying because they’re finally starting to see opportunity, and much of that is directly tied to coworking enabling community and collaboration right here in our city.”
One example of this retention is nomadic freelance graphic designer TJ Smith who dropped in to work at FACTORY while he was traveling the United States. He loved the community the coworking space had fostered so much that he ended up moving to Grand Junction, bringing his business and talents with him. “Our end-goal is simple; we want to help enable community,” says Allison Blevins, Proximity’s Director of Marketing. “Coworking is more than having a place to work with good coffee. It’s really about investing in people and giving them a forum in which collaboration happens and creativity flows. It’s about people partnering with people to become stronger and more capable than they would have been working alone.”
FACTORY allows you to choose the membership level that works for you with daily, weekly, or monthly options.
Because of coworking spaces like FACTORY, smaller communities like Grand Junction, Montrose, and Ridgway will continue to become more relevant in both our local and global economy’s future with jobs becoming less location-dependent. “You shouldn’t have to choose between where you live and what you want to do,” Watson says. “Now, you can live, work, and play exactly where you want and still keep your finger on the pulse of collaboration, creativity, and community.”
FACTORY is a Proximity Space and is located at 750 Main Street. Drop ins are welcome Monday through Friday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. For more information, visit factorycoworking.com.