Business as Usual, located on North Main Street across from the courthouse, offers a coworking style environment for work-at-home professionals, independent contractors, traveling professionals or residents who simply need a space to do a couple hours’ work.
After a soft opening last week, the company will host a ribbon cutting on Sept. 21 with the Chamber of Commerce and various city and county leaders.
According to BAU founder Peter Baker, the shared working space was a response to a local and national need.
“I began to look in town here to see what kind of office space needs were here,” he said. “And I began to realize that, not only did we not have a shared workspace, but that people had interest- ing arrangements concerning offices and prices; so I thought that maybe this would be a perfect niche.”
In his research, Baker found that the number of shared workspaces nationwide has tripled in the last 10 years. People are doing a lot of different office models, he says, from IT-focused ones in which training sessions are held, to more general ones simply offering a space for entrepreneurs.
“Maybe [they’re] people who…would feel more productive if they were to come to a shared workspace, [rather] than being at home,” he said. “I was just trying to think of ways that I would be able to attract the population that was unable to sustain an office space by themselves, but could easily fit into this and feel productive and be around people who are pretty much needing the same thing.”
Several options for use
Business as Usual also has a professional-grade copier, fax and scanning machine, as well as a boardroom with multi-media capabilities that’s free for members and available to the public at $25 per hour for walk-ins.
Three types of membership packages are available at the shared workplace that all include Wi-Fi access; copying, fax and scanning services; a private telephone room; and break room with water and coffee.
The silver membership is $100 a month and includes 200 black-and-white copies and 25 color copies per month, as well as free first 10 faxes, free scanning and 72-hour advance booking access to the boardroom.
The gold membership is $125 a month and includes 300 black-and-white copies and 50 color copies per month, as well as free first 20 faxes, free scanning and 24-hour advance booking access to the boardroom.
The platinum membership is $300 a month and includes 1,000 black-andwhite copies and 100 color copies, both per month, as well as free faxing and scanning, and unlimited scheduled and unscheduled boardroom access.
Walk-ins can use the common shared space for $10 an hour, as well as the copier for 10-cents a blackand white page, 40-cents a color page, $2 a fax, and $1 scan to email.
The shared workplace’s central location offers convenience for people who may be Uptown for court and need to print a court document right away, or who may be meeting with a local lawyer, Baker says.
“We found that, downtown, there’s only one other place that you can get copies – that was at the library,” he said. “We eventually want to check into even being a FedEx or UPS location where people can ship packages out of here, as well.”
While Business as Usual doesn’t have any members yet, Baker is hopeful.
“We have some [people] reviewing our contracts for one of the office spaces,” he said. “We’re feeling pretty hopeful for that. We’ve had a couple of other people call about coming here and doing one of the lower-level memberships, so we’re hoping that we’ll see them sometime this week, as well.”
Baker has also been discussing collaboration opportunities with Piedmont Community College’s Business Development and Entrepreneurship Center, also on North Main Street.
“They have some smaller workshops that they do that would be more appropriate to have them in a boardroom like [here,]” he said. “Because they’re an incubator for small businesses, they also can provide individuals who may need this type of space. We can work hand-in-hand, as well.”
At this point, though, the plan with Business as Usual is largely touch-andgo, Baker says.
“We may tweak some stuff as we go,” he said. “It’s kind of going to be touch and go to feel what kind of level of traffic and volume we see…We like to think that we pretty much captured everything; but, of course, you don’t know until the need arises.”