Two marketing entrepreneurs are preparing to open a coworking center on Route 10 in Simsbury to offer a haven for freelance professionals.
The Group 88 center will offer rental office space on a flexible basis for those who need a sophisticated office setting where they can meet clients or just a place to get away from the distractions of home.
"When you're by yourself, you're like an island to your own," said Suzi Edwards, who also runs her own home-based business, WallFly Marketing. Her co-founder, Jaye Donaldson, is president of the marketing firm The Donaldson Group, which owns the building Group 88 will occupy. "We want the individuals to have a community to go to."
Edwards and Donaldson will introduce the increasingly popular urban concept of coworking to the Hartford suburbs at its open house on April 2, when the 2,500-square-foot space at 88 Hopmeadow St. will be fully furnished and ready to show off. There will be three "anchor" offices for full-time occupants and six open work spaces for what Edwards calls "floaters."
The coworking center has already attracted interest from several telecommuters and home-based business owners, including Harry Lew, who runs his marketing and content development firm Avanza Communications out of his home office in Southington.
"I think it's a really timely concept for individual business professionals who typically can suffer a lot of isolation," Lew said.
"The human element is crucial," he added, especially when you're dealing with creative work. "And you need to have that cross-fertilization of ideas."
Floaters will be able to access the space between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m., making for a rotating cast of office characters. Prices for floating occupancy will range from monthly memberships, which go for $325 per month, to daily drop-in rates, which start at $25 a day.
Along with the furniture, coworkers at Group 88 will have free access to a lounge area, a kitchen and break room, office equipment like printers and faxes, and free coffee, snacks and Internet access.
A conference room equipped with audio and video equipment is available for an extra fee, starting at $50 per hour.
When Edwards decided to launch Group 88, she began to channel Uma Thurman in Quentin Tarantino's gruesome action flick "Kill Bill," a likeness she described in detail on a coworking industry blog:
"One of the best Kill Bill scenes, hands down, is Beatrix fighting O-Ren Ishii's … murderous Tokyo gang of (nearly) 88 swordsthugs," she wrote.
"In pulling together Group 88, I feel a bit like Beatrix. Like Beatrix, I have been training for the challenge — learning from other coworker masters, conquering hesitation by coworking in other spots, networking like crazy and agonizing over my revenge tactics for terminating the pains of solitary confinement for independents in the 'burbs."