Have you been to Gather's second location in Scott's Addition? Today, I was fortunate enough to get a behind-the-scenes tour of the spacious building located at 2920 W. Broad Street.
Walking through the front doors, you're immediately faced with a modern, yet invitingly cozy lobby / workspace / kitchen. It's roomy and wide open and sectioned off into a reception area, kitchen-bar, phone booths and group workspaces along with a small sofa and den set up.
I had only been to Gather on one other occasion - for a group meeting. I knew the space was designed to be a work co-op but what I didn't know is that several local and even national businesses and non-profits have set up shop inside Gather's walls. Many on a long-term basis. UVA, Jimmy Johns, Red Hat and Unbound RVA were a few of the names I saw on the tour.
I was invited to Gather by Jessica Back, The Community Manager, who gave me an hour of her time to talk about Gather's design and mission and show me the sweet, sweet two-story layout.
During my tour, I could tell this was something special.
It's got that resourcefulness you feel when you go to a really great library, but it also has that state-of-the-art creative feeling you get when you walk into the Martin Agency or Capital One West Creek and the laid back feeling you get when you go to Urban Farmhouse or Starbucks.
You realize quickly, nothing is there by accident. It all has purpose to support your work needs.
Jessica agrees and says she hears similar comments from others who first visit the community workspace. But, she described it like this: "It's an environment with less formalities and distractions, providing our community with more room for enjoyment and productivity."
Honestly, it beats going to some random Starbucks or Panera to get your work done.
At Gather you can drop in for $20 a day and have access to wifi, phone booths for private phone calls, Black Hand coffee, water and of course -- workspace from 8am-5pm, Monday through Friday.
This is perfect for say, someone who works from home but needs to just be around other people for a spark of creativity. Or, maybe, for someone who owns a small-business and doesn't have the need for an office, yet.
But membership literally has its privileges here.
Depending on what level membership you participate in, you can access the building 24/7, have your own private office, list Gather as your business address and have your mail sent there and signed for, gain access to the Community Manager, conference room access (there are five conference areas in Scott's Addition), kitchen access, copier/fax/scanner access, networking events and happy hour event access and depending on which location your at -- you can use the gym and showers.
Yes. The Scott's Addition location has showers!
They also provide you with furniture when you have an office there. You get to add your own unique flare. And, on Wednesdays cookies are baked fresh in the kitchen by Sugar and Twine. (I'm going back on Wednesday, for sure!)
So, what does all that cost?
Well, it can range from $250-$350 a month, if you're just doing something small. Or, for something more permanent, it can cost in the ballpark of $500 to $1,500 a month. And that's all inclusive. No need to worry about utility, maintenance and insurance bills like you would if you signed a lease on your own brick and mortar.
Jessica says Gather has about 83-private offices under its roofs and about 300 members. I said "roofs" because Gather has another location in downtown Richmond at 409 E. Main Street. That's the flagship location that also has the gym.
Jessica tells me right now Gather has a waitlist for membership office space, but that can change at any time.
Gather was originally started by Polly and Doug White who operate Whitestone Partners Inc., a small-business consulting firm, the two teamed up with Andy Beach and Jeff Bunch of Urban Core Construction, and Duke Dodson of Dodson Property Management to form Gather in 2014. All saw a need for work collaboration.
When the idea for a second location was born, James Crenshaw was added into the group as a Managing Partner.
Mrs. White has an office in the Scott's Addition location. I got to meet her while on the tour. She said having an office inside Gather has even transformed her productivity. She also shared with me some big plans in Gather's future. But, I've been sworn to secrecy. :)
To find out more about Gather or to set up a tour email firstname.lastname@example.org
Photo Credit: Kate Magee @katemagee