MANSFIELD – The Richland Area Chamber of Commerce and Mayor Tim Theaker will perform an official ribbon cutting for Idea Works, the co-working and event space on 40 W 4th St, Wednesday, December 6 at Noon.
Local residents are encouraged to attend the event, but it's mobile entrepreneurs and start-up businesses that Idea Works really wants to attract. Those individuals can schedule a tour here, and receive a free Idea Works-branded stainless-steel water bottle when they attend Wednesday's ribbon cutting.
What exactly is Idea Works and how does it fill a need in the Mansfield market? Richland Source and Idea Works President Jay Allred believe it addresses an area saturated with more conventional working spaces.
“Idea Works started as – and still is – a co-working facility. What that means is that we offer a beautiful and functional shared office environment that virtually any business can afford,” Allred said. “Mansfield has a surplus of traditional commercial spaces, which is great for some businesses. We’ve been different from the beginning.”
Idea Works' first tenant, not surprisingly, is Richland Source. But other businesses have also benefited from utilizing the space. The Lionsgate production company made Idea Works its headquarters for the filming of “Escape Plan 3” during the months of September and October.
The local marketing company Graziani Multimedia also works out of Idea Works. Owner Tracy Graziani sees tremendous benefit in the shared space, primarily because of the intangible perks of working alongside a community of like-minded people.
“When I want to bounce a wacky idea off someone, I can just strike up a conversation in the kitchen,” Graziani said. “That cross-pollination of ideas is invaluable. This is the perfect place for a forward-thinking business looking for a flexible environment where they can grow.”
Allred is open to the idea of providing space to either established businesses or start-ups, but an ideal member is someone who sees beyond the idea that they need to have their very own office.
“That person will recognize that the convenience of literally being able to forget about purchasing office furniture, paying for internet, buying printer cartridges, figuring out a reception area, or outfitting a conference room. All that time and money can be focused on growing their business,” Allred said.
Some of the perks of Idea Works include basic office supplies, conference room space, wireless internet, access to printers/copiers, front-desk service, mail and package handling, bike storage, and complimentary coffee and snacks.
In addition to simply being a shared working space, Idea Works has already hosted a variety of public events, including a community baby shower, music concerts, board meetings, seminars, and networking events.
“How the common spaces at Idea Works have been utilized has been one of the pleasant surprises so far,” Allred mentioned. “We’ve already seen lots of variety and interaction between businesses, as well as local residents.”
Allred is optimistic about the positive effect Idea Works could have on the local economy and for local entrepreneurs.
“Ultimately, we see Idea Works as a place that supports and accelerates the entrepreneurial spirit,” he said. “If we get it right, the combination of a collaborative space and member-informed benefits and programming should result in better businesses and more skilled business-people.”