A new co-working space opened in downtown Iowa City Feb. 1 for entrepreneurs and work-from-home parents to be productive outside of home offices.
Sara Meehan wasn’t just looking to sell space when she opened Cowork Collective downtown — she wanted to create a community.
Meehan, the 34-year-old owner of Iowa City Moms Blog, an organization that seeks to connect local mothers to one another and the community through local events, expanded her reach to open Cowork Collective for business on Feb. 1.
She said the idea came to her after spending time working in her friend’s coworking space in the Quad Cities. She and her executive team decided they needed a space besides their home offices to work.
“None of us have an office outside of our home,” Meehan said. “And so we just found it increasingly difficult to meet with sponsors and partners. You can only meet at so many coffee shops.”
While coworking spaces such as MERGE aren’t a new concept in Iowa City, Meehan hopes to create a inspiring atmosphere in which local entrepreneurs and start-up workers can grow their businesses.
Located on the third floor of the Paul Helen Building, just above Java House on Washington Street, Cowork Collective features three private offices, a conference room in which light streams in from large windows, and a spacious mezzanine with a sunroof reserved for special events.
Bill Easton, the owner of William Easton Design, is one of the current renters of the space. For him, the open, well-lit space provides a perfect place for his creative team to collaborate on projects and bounce ideas off one another.
“Almost all of our staff are what I call creatives,” he said. “We don’t want to be stuck in a cave. They want to be able to look outside.”
Currently, Meehan provides space for a variety of different workers, and she looks forward to creating a community in which a diverse group of people can communicate and share ideas to help grow their businesses.
“When you work remotely, there’s so many benefits, but also you’re a little bit isolated, so it’s hard to market yourself outside of social media,” she said. “I think it’s a great place to be surrounded by people that are doing all these things that in some way or another you may need.”
Meehan said her business wants to provide something for every budget. Because it offers everything from $250 per month memberships to drop-in punch cards offering 10 uses for $100, she said the space is accessible even to those who can’t afford to rent an office but still need a place to work from home.
“You feel at home here, you feel comfortable, but there’s not a laundry basket next to you and there are not dishes in the sink — the things that distract you from your work,” she said.
For Jessi Simon, the national sales manager for City Moms Blog Network, a coworking space is ideal for the hybrid work lifestyle many people have today.
“It’s made for people who don’t necessarily have a day that always looks the same or that need to have the flexibility to sometimes work from home,” she said. “Typically, my days have been coffee-shop hopping. This will be really nice to have a home-base that’s away from home.”
Whether spending time at Cowork Collective or managing Iowa City Moms Blog, Meehan’s background works to connect people of the Iowa City area to resources and opportunities.
“We’re excited to just kind of extend that mission that we started with the Mom’s Blog,” she said.