'This is not just an office space': Workantile Exchange rebrands itself as a coworking community
Two years after opening a space on South Main Street in downtown Ann Arbor, Workantile Exchange is pursuing organizational and design changes.
The 3,000-square-foot “coworking” space, located at 118 S. Main St., is a membership-funded clubhouse designed for social and professional interaction between independent workers.
But due to a recent ownership change, the downtown storefront is papered off as the organization attempts to rebrand itself.
One step in the rebranding process: changing its name to just Workantile.
“A group of existing members acquired ownership apart from the person who founded the business,” said Trek Glowacki, community manager for Workantile.
“We need to break ties with this name and the previous concept in some ways,” he continued.
Workantile is halting new memberships until December or January while it changes window decorations and redesigns its marketing campaign.
The main goal, Glowacki said, is to ensure people understand Workantile is different than an office space or a business incubator.
Workantile’s 67 current members pay a monthly fee to access the downtown space, but Glowacki said it’s not for people interested in just renting a desk.
“Desk renters want to be left alone to sit and type and have a place to work inexpensively,” he pointed out. “Around them at Workantile, a community was ongoing and they would often leave because they’d get sick of being asked to go to lunch.”
While Workantile is set up with desks, meeting areas and private conference rooms, there is also a social aspect to the workspace.
“Here, people come in, sit down and hang out and work, but there’s also a great deal of socializing going on,” Glowacki said. “And consulting goes on constantly. You can get experienced people’s opinions about what you’re working on.”
And although Glowacki said there are many technology startups at Workantile, he said it’s different than a business incubator, which is designed to facilitate young companies.
During the last two years, Workantile has had a total of some 180 members. With the current membership level at 67, Glowacki said the goal is to get to 100.
To become a member, interested parties can have a trial-week period, after which the organization will invite people to become members. Membership fees are $160 per month, and the organization is also rolling out new membership types as part of its rebranding.
By charging membership fees, the organization has been able to pay its rent and fund its other costs.
“We’re able to pay our ongoing costs at the current membership level we have,” he said. “We’re doing very healthy, but we’d definitely like to get more people.”