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Freelancers Assemble!

What used to be the exclusive domain of cash-strapped startups is becoming increasingly common for micro-businesses and full-time freelancers. More than just cubicle farms for coding or mutual meeting spaces, the collective interaction of complementary industries reveals opportunities for collaboration.

Formal and informal co-working has been around for more than a decade in Columbus. From Sandbox in the Short North to The Mill in Grandview, many have come and gone, changed hands, or evolved into something less specific, or more refined.

Here’s a rundown of some of the city’s newest and long-standing co-work communities waiting for independents and innovators to set up shop.

400 West Rich

400 W Rich St. • 400westrich.com

If exposed brick and handmade furniture are your style, the renovated second story above East Franklinton’s eclectic artist colony is calling. Large and small rooms are available with vintage desks and built-in shelving, but even those who just rent a seat get five hours of conference time every month. Skylights add to the illumination of the shared space. But if you need something a little more upscale for entertaining, members also get meeting room discounts at Strongwater, the on-site restaurant. For less formal or after-meeting activities, the Franklinton Art District’s collection of galleries and exhibitions is sure to impress clients.

Bottoms Up Coffee Co-op

1069 W Broad St. • bottomsupcoffee.com

More than just a public coffee shop or co-work space, Bottoms Up leverages its location to serve the community it calls home. Monthly coffee memberships, co-work rentals for individuals and teams, and “Franklinton Legacy” memberships all support grassroots efforts to reduce infant mortality and provide workforce development in one of the city’s at-risk neighborhoods. If you’re a café consultant who just needs a third space to meet clients without all of the perks, consider the entry-level membership for drinks and discounts in the coffee shop. Or, step up to a “creation quad” or studio office membership for 24/7 access and amenities.

COhatch

659 High St. • cohatch.com

Downtown Worthington has become a credible creative enclave, and COhatch taps into that ambitious undercurrent often overlooked by those who rarely make it to the outerbelt. Located above what used to be the old Zettler Hardware, the blend of dedicated desks, lounge and common areas are ideal for drop-ins, while shared and private offices offer walls for those who prefer them. Most memberships include access to Snap Fitness, also on-site. COhatch offers after-hours event space for all members, encourages donations to selected charities, and extends membership to local nonprofits or social enterprises for a year—that includes branding and other assistance from members.

Club Level CoWorking

35 E Gay St. • clublevelcoworking.com

For a truly downtown feel and address, it’s hard to beat Gay Street’s retail renaissance and small business boom. No daily passes or drop-in access, but for those wanting to put down roots, there are generous discounts for 6-month and 12-month contracts. If your business extends to the near markets of Cleveland and Pittsburgh, Club Level CoWorking offers the flexibility and amenities you would expect, plus sites in additional cities for your out-of-town office needs. There’s also an online forum just for members to connect and collaborate, locally and with coworkers in their sisters cities.

Industrious

629 N High St. • industriousoffice.com

If a skyline view of downtown is a must-have, Industrious and their 10,000-square-foot space on the fourth floor of The Joseph in the Short North is it. Though community co-work space is available, the unique appeal of well-appointed offices with doors that close is part of the price point—as are the leather chairs, free coffee, and craft beer. With locations in several US cities and plans for further expansion, you’ll find the fit and finish of a funded tech start up. But with that cache comes a premium price tag. If you dress to impress at any cost, this too could be the office for you.

Qwirk

341 S Third St. • qwirkcolumbus.com

At the intersection of downtown and German Village, Qwirk also blurs the lines between a traditional office environment and nimble networking organization by offering individual rooms with multiple desks and virtual office services, all the way down to day passes and dedicated lockers. No enterprise is too large or too small. “QWIRKtail” hour introduces members who may not otherwise cross paths, and discounts on accounting to technology services are available depending upon your membership option. Their meeting space is also available for rent to non-members and accommodates up to 30 for gatherings from pitch meetings to private parties.

The Perch

45 E Lincoln St. • theperchshortnorth.com

The modern aesthetic, high ceilings, and short walk to High Street all add to the appeal of this more commitment-focused space. No daily or short-term memberships here. But for those seeking something more permanent—or a private office loft—The Perch offers options for agencies and individuals. The conference room with 65” display, as well as complimentary office supplies and kitchen provisions are tempting for those wanting to start or stay in the neighborhood. In fact, the impetus for The Perch was to help folks who used to call Workshop Co. home do just that.

The Salt Mines

2997 Indianola Ave. and 3820 N High St. • saltmines.us

This co-work community is even co-located, with offices at either end of Clintonville. Standard daily, weekly, and monthly rates apply, but the device lab and options of a dedicated desk and discounted membership for occasional interns and collaborators are appreciated. Both locations are bike and bus friendly, with rack and route details on their website. In their first year of operation, The Salt Mines kept score on more than just new members. They also went through 96 pounds of French-pressed coffee, 51 pizzas at their monthly member lunches, 272 gyros from Taste of Greece around the corner, and 480 rolls of toilet paper.

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