The bare, brick archway leads into a wide open room filled with potential. As Ramon Gonzalez, co-founder of Thrive Coworking, wanders the space pointing out every office that will soon live in The Mill on Etowah, 141 Railroad St., a historical textile mill turned development project, there is a sense of anticipation.
He strolls around this open room, painting a picture of a “home for small businesses” that will soon open its doors to the people of Canton.
Gonzalez said the words “community, intentionality, flexibility and relationships” were the focus of his vision and what he believes makes Thrive unique. Gonzalez and co-founder, Daniel Burnett work alongside their tenants of shared work spaces that he said leads to inspiration, motivation and engagement.
“You see genuine partnerships develop from working in a shared space,” Gonzalez said. Thrive currently has two spaces, one in Alpharetta and one in Milton where they see this idea of community play out. “Everyone talks about community, it’s so overused but I believe we really do it. People really love being in our spaces.”
Thrive offers a unique workplace that allows entrepreneurs to become a member, using the space on a consistent basis, or to rent an area for a day or even an hour. Thrive will offer dedicated offices, meeting rooms, open work spaces and dedicated desks at their Canton location, slated to open this summer.
“Right now we live in an era where people have more and more flexibility and freedom to choose where they want to work, and so they are going to choose places where they want to be,” Gonzalez said. “We looked around and thought, everyone loves these walkable downtowns, so why not create really cool, irresistible work spaces focused on community in walkable mixed-use suburban downtowns.”
Thrive is a membership based company but customers don’t have to be a member to use the space; just to get the full benefit of Thrive. A membership costs between $139 for the lowest tier and $335 for the top tier membership. Then there are added prices depending on if you want a dedicated desk, office or other options.
Gonzalez said having a membership has benefits such as snacks, drinks and events; both social and educational. They also offer some business assistance for small businesses.
Gonzalez shared his personal story of being a small business owner multiple times and said he realized the importance of having outside help. He understands that there isn’t always a need to hire an employee for each part of the business, but instead reach out to people who al-ready know what they are doing to work for you when you need it. They offer assistance with accounting, technology, legal, insurance, creative, capital and consulting assistance at an additional cost.
“You can get by the hour help for whatever you need … we want to make it easy for people to run their businesses,” he said.
Gonzalez elaborated on the overall appeal of shared workspaces by saying, “We think that when you have a space that’s super open and inviting added to having a diverse mix of tenants and members, you’re going to find a really special mix that’s going to resonate with the community. That’s what you see when you come to our spaces. Each location has a different look, Canton’s design is what we are calling ‘classic eclectic schoolhouse’.”
Set in a century old denim mill, Thrive’s Canton location will take ad-vantage of the history of its setting, Gonzalez said. “I want to take all of the neat attributes and enhance them… it’s going to be the coolest place to work outside of Atlanta,” he said.
While Thrive will be opening in the summer, Gonzalez said potential members are urged to express interest soon because space could go fast.
Thrive will be joining Reformation Brewery, Rayven Co. Candles, Cotton Mill Exchange, Liberty Hill Church and more in The Mill on Etowah, expected to open throughout 2019. The Mill on Etowah is a project transforming the original Canton Mills into an adaptive reuse/mixed use development. Formerly known as Mill No. 1, the factory was built in 1900 and actively produced denim until 1981.