New co-working space opens in Winter Park to facilitate local innovation, collaboration
There’s a new way for entrepreneurs, freelancers and remote workers to do business in the Fraser Valley.
Blue Arrow, a new co-working space in Winter Park Station, is offering a space for locals and tourists alike to knock out their daily work, meet with others and collaborate on different projects.
“We want to be a community focused space that encourages collaboration and innovation,” said Austin Gray, co-owner of Blue Arrow. “We see a lot of people move up here to work, but they’re just stuck in their homes. We want to be that place where everybody can come and have their own space to work and collaborate.”
The co-working space, which opened in February, is essentially an office not reserved for any specific business, which allows individuals access to high speed and secured internet, a conference room, printing and laminating equipment and more amenities set in a highly productive environment.
Spaces like these have begun to rise in popularity among remote and freelance workers, tired of taking chances on coffee shop Wi-Fi, according to Blue Arrow.
“I think with the growing amount of remote working jobs, people are seeing that they can live in towns like this, and still be able to work and play,” said Gray.
While the space can be effective for locals looking for somewhere to work, it’s also meant to serve tourists needing to get work done while on vacation.
Co-owner Jayson Harris, who also owns The Perk coffee shop in Winter Park, said he sees customers struggle daily to work efficiently and without distraction.
“Going to a coffee shop, you never know what spot you’re going to get,” said Harris. “If you get your favorite spot by the window, with an outlet right there you know you’re going to be productive. But it’s always a crapshoot if you’re going to get a lot done.”
Harris said the biggest piece to Blue Arrow is being able to increase productivity, “so that you don’t have to work for a couple hours here and there at the coffee shop every day while you’re on vacation.”
The co-working space works similar to a gym, where patrons can purchase different types of memberships and access the space 24/7 via a personal key-code. But different levels of membership come with different perks. The lowest levels offer just a couple days of access a month, and a space in the community area to work. Other offerings include 15 or unlimited days a month, a dedicated desk, or even a private office for two to five people.
Blue Arrow offers day passes for those without a membership, and keeps its conference room and event space open for bookings. Blue Arrow also recently partnered with Green Spaces, a co-working space in Denver, so that any new members receive three complimentary days at Green Spaces and vice versa.
But Blue Arrow may have more to offer than just a convenient workspace as Gray and Harris are intent on bringing people together, and helping people with big ideas achieve their dreams.
“We’ve gotten to meet a lot of influential and talented people because of the platform we have with the co-working space,” said Harris. “So we’re trying to find a way to leverage that and use it for good.
“We hear these ideas and think about who we know, and how we can start to connect people whose needs intersect. We’re trying to figure out how to connect all of the people that have resources with the people that need resources.”
To that end, Gray and Harris recently founded a group called Grand County Entrepreneurs, focused around those interested in creating innovating products and business here in the county. The group meets at Blue Arrow every other Wednesday, with their next meeting scheduled for May 16.
The space will also offer classes that are open to members and non-members. Blue Arrow will be offering its first class, a six-week coding course for $1,200, in June.
“Whether you’re just out of high school looking to break into the tech industry, or you’re a long term resident looking to get into a new career, we believe that tech is driving the growth of our economy,” said Gray. “We want to provide platforms for people to learn here in Grand County.”
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