"It's been great to be a place where people come together and create and start."
Lisa Tessarowicz is the founder and owner of Epicentral Coworking, a shared space for working nomads, including freelancers, small business owners, entrepreneurs, and commuters. With two locations in Colorado Springs, members can access meeting rooms, private offices, and a range of amenities. At Epicentral, “Work Hard, Do Good” means more than sitting at a desk for the day; it’s a challenge for do’ers and thinkers to become change makers.
In this episode, hear why Lisa felt Colorado Springs was lacking energy around entrepreneurship and what inspired her to meet a need for community through coworking.
Listen to our conversation for a reminder that collaboration is a powerful conduit to creation. For more encouraging stories, visit our full library of interviews.
Joe: Hi there. I’m Joe Dudeck, president and founder of Keyhole Marketing.
Shannon: And I’m Shannon Jirik. I work for Keyhole as the assistant brand manager.
Joe: And this is Metaphorically Speaking, a podcast that explores the mysterious side of marketing.
Shannon: Welcome to this episode of metaphorically speaking, we were excited for the chance to, to sit down and chat with Lisa Tessarowicz, who is the founder and owner of Epicentral Coworking, which has two locations in the Colorado Springs area. So if you’re not totally familiar with what a coworking space is, it’s really just a shared workspace for professionals, maybe entrepreneurs, small business owners, really anyone that either doesn’t have a physical location to work outside of the home, or just needs a fresh change of scenery. So her space has provide meeting rooms, private offices, conference rooms, technology, really anything that you as an individual or you as a group may need when co-working together.
So I know Joe, in the past, you’ve worked in coworking spaces, you’ve bopped around town, you know, to, to work away from the home. What kind of value do you see in these spaces as somebody who’s gotten to enjoy them?
Joe: Yeah, I, haven’t worked in a space around here. Just kinda missed that window. Moved out here in 2019 and then kind of was just getting myself settled a little bit and then COVID hit and kind of missed that around here.
Shannon: Yeah. Coworking is not exactly the thing to do.
Joe: No, they’re not like, Hey everybody get together. So I did work at it at Indianapolis and little different models, kind of just more of an open space and kind of a monthly membership plans. I love how they have different sizes available, not only of places to work, but also investment sizes to that. People can kind of have it as a central and the value I’ve found in the past is just just community with people. You know, you’re not able to, you’re not looking at your same four walls in your house and you’re having real life conversations with people. Sometimes just those interactions are inspiring. You sometimes you’re finding somebody with a great story who, you know, can kind of speak into your own experience.
Shannon: Yeah, I think it was really cool how Lisa talked very specifically about the community that these coworking spaces create. Exactly. Like you said, you’re finding like-minded people who can share ideas or you’re finding people who are different from yourself who have a different story. And you’re getting to make friends, you know, or meet other professionals. And I liked how she just talked about seeing people over the years, meeting in a coworking space and eventually getting married even, or meeting at the coworking space and then dating and breaking up, you know, and then people gotta find a new time window to work or in more of a professional setting, just, you know, people who are kind of rubbing shoulders and end up dreaming together and starting businesses together out of that coworking space. So just some really cool paths that are taken when people collaborate like that.
Joe: Yeah. And I loved how she painted a great picture of how the entrepreneurial landscape was years ago. And before this business started and then leaving the area being inspired of how could I change that landscape? How can I support the entrepreneurial community with a business like this? And so I think that’s the other part of this is that as you go into and work out of a space like that, you just realize you’re part of something bigger than your own little small operation, whatever it is. And you’re all together changing the landscape, you’re bettering the lives of local residents and consumers. And I don’t know, you just, it just feels like supported by being a part of that whole big story that’s unfolding well,
Shannon: And I’m sure you can relate to this Joe, as well as our other entrepreneurs out there, but it can be a lonely journey at times when you’re stepping out on your own and you don’t have that regular set of coworkers every day. So a place like epicenter is just, it can become home for those kinds of people to remember, they’re not alone. They, they have support. They have a community there for them.
Joe: Yeah. And there’s a lot of times when you have an experience where you just feel like you’re the only one who experienced that and you realized just through usually a quick conversation, like, oh, I’m not the first counter, this, this one thing. So sometimes it’s just quickly resolved through a quick share with somebody else. And they’re like, oh yeah, that happened to me last year. Here’s what happened.
Shannon: So thank you, Lisa, for just what you’re doing for the community, as well as the time to chat with us today. We hope you guys enjoy listening to the episode.
Joe: Thanks so much for joining us today. Lisa, I just saw, you know, you, you graduated from the university of Denver. I just wanted to kind of start there a little bit, not with your education, but did you grow up locally? Are you, is that what brought you to Colorado or, or, or where did you grow up?
Lisa: No, I grew up here. I moved here when I was three years old. So as far as what I can remember, it all happened in Colorado Springs. So perhaps more importantly than perhaps more important than being a graduate of university of Denver is that I graduated from Palmer high school, which is two blocks away from where I now, where I’m sitting right now and where I own a business.
Joe: Yeah. Yeah. That’s awesome. Where, where did you come from at three years old,
Lisa: Texas. Like, like many people in Colorado. I immigrated from Texas with my family.
Joe: What brought you your family this way?
Lisa: It’s, it’s sort of interesting. And it sort of, in some ways plays into the story of maybe who I am and what I do. My, my parents met in Colorado Springs. So before I was only a sparkle in their eyes, they met here. They both chose to live. I think my dad was hearing a contract programming, the streetlights, and my mom was here. She just always wanted to live in Colorado. She had grown up in the Midwest and also in Texas. And she thought that cholera was just the most beautiful place in the colored. Springs was amazing. So they both moved here and sort of, because they wanted to, because it was beautiful and people are lovely. And so they met here. They moved around a bunch once they were married, but my mom always wanted to get back here.
I wanted to raise her family here. On the other hand, my father thought that there weren’t a lot of opportunity. He was an entrepreneur and he didn’t think that there were many opportunities in Colorado Springs. And maybe there were less opportunities at this time. We’re talking now like 45 years ago. So he, when he sort of planted his entrepreneurial roots, he really liked Texas. He liked Dallas. He thought there was a good tech scene there. He had some connections there. So he always started businesses in Texas, but my mom always wanted to live in Colorado. So when I, they were living in Texas and then my mom said, you know what? We’re moving to Colorado. My dad actually continued to commute to Texas as I grew up. I mean, through when I was in high school, he would fly down to Texas every week and do business down there while we all lived in.
Joe: And did you have aspirations of staying here?
Lisa: Absolutely not. No. In high school, I remember thinking, you know, oh, Colorado Springs. It’s so small town it’s so backwoods, you know, like I couldn’t, I couldn’t get out soon enough. And actually when I first went to college as a freshman, I went to Tufts university in the east coast. Cause you know, I needed something bigger, better, more exciting. So I started off at Tufts university and it was a huge shock to my system, like living on the east coast. I mean, I had traveled all around the world at that point, but I had never felt so much culture shock is living on the east coast. And I was like, oh, people, aren’t very nice. And it’s not very beautiful here. And of course, you know, that’s the thing like you don’t realize what you have or the great things about the place you live oftentimes until you leave.
So I left and certainly learned to appreciate Colorado Springs a heck of a lot more. And the people here and everything that Colorado Springs has to offer. So, so yeah, I did a little east coast living. Then I lived in Denver. I lived in Europe for a little while, but it was sort of, there was a journey of like, I really care, like all of that traveling, living other places really made me realize that the thing that I care a lot about is Colorado Springs. And really, I want to plant roots here and I want to help. I mean, granted, there are a lot of things I don’t love about Colorado Springs, but you know, it’s on me to make it better. So that’s what I’m going to do.
Joe: Yeah. I totally get that desire to sort of get outside of, of what you grew up on. I grew up in Indiana, always pine to come out here to Colorado, even as a kid, I didn’t actually get out here until I was 20, 24 actually. And then of course eventually decided that I came out here as a, as a, as a visitor, my honeymoon. And then we just kind of put a mental note of like, Hey, we should come back for some time. Yeah. So yeah. I always wonder if it’s like my own, like the Midwest, like I gotta get out of the Midwest or if you grew up on the mountains, you still kind of pine for something else away from, from there. So I get it as well. It’s just, you know, it’s good. I think that’s healthy to get outside of your, your roots.
Lisa: :I appreciate too. That actually it was, it was in Indiana. I was, I was, I was spending some time in South Bend and I dunno part of it again. Okay. So my aunt runs a women’s day shelter there called St. Margaret’s house. And so she runs the shelter and she, I had just graduated from college and I was sort of like, didn’t know what I was going to do next. And so she ran this nonprofit and she had just finished a big capital campaign and had lost one of her employees. And just in like her database had crashed, she just needed some help. So she was like, can you just move here for three months and come help me? And I was like, oh, like I just graduated with a business degree. Like, do you want me to come to South Bend, Indiana and help you work in some nonprofit like, oh, you’ve gotta be kidding me.
So I went there and it was completely life-changing doing that sort of work with people in this community. And it’s an incredible organization in my aunt does incredible job. And it was, it was all great. But when it came to the realization, was that like, I really do like to help people. I really enjoy that, but I don’t feel rooted in South Bend. Like I like this work, but I don’t want to, but I, I want to go do it in Colorado Springs. So then that was like my first job that I ever got, then it was going back to culture is I actually worked in the nonprofit industry, but it was all sort of the, the whole, like, certainly being in South Bend solidified, like I want to do this great work, but I want to be in this place that I care about just because I hadn’t been stuffed in that long.
Joe: :Yeah. That new perspective then gave you a light there. You said your dad owned a few businesses. Was that sort of your first connection to entrepreneurship?
Lisa: :Yeah, he started a number of businesses. He started one particular corporation in Dallas, which eventually went public. And it’s still, I don’t know if it’s actually still listed on the New York stock exchange, but yeah. So he had a big, you know, one big success. I mean, several others, I don’t mean to say like only one, but yeah, he had, he had some good success.
Joe: :So what were your first thoughts as you saw that as a kid, were you dreaming of the same experience? Was it just sort of like those dad things and then eventually it became to mind as your own journey? Or was it something that you just always thought of? Like I have to do the same thing. It’s sort of in my genes.
Lisa: :Very much. I did not want to do the same thing. I didn’t think that I was built in the same way. You know, my dad, my dad came to this country with $500, but he also had a PhD in math. Right. So he like came to this country with nothing and was able to live the American dream. And it’s, it’s an incredible story. And I’m, I’m incredibly lucky that he did that, but no, being an entrepreneur was never something I was interested in for me, but he was very much on the tech side and of things, you know? And so that was never, I never identified with more of like the tech side or being a coder. And so for me, I sort of equated the two that like, oh, if you’re going to start this huge multi-million dollar business, like you have to know something about tech.
And for me, I, so I got a degree in business cause I felt like that’s what I needed to do. Cause I felt like, oh, that’s just a skill I should have. Like, what else would I major in? Even though looking back, I should’ve majored in a hundred other different things, but anyway, but no, like I was interested in business, but like not really the tech side and I was much more interested in like people and I think helping people and I wasn’t able to maybe marry that together until later on in my life. So like my first one I’ve got my first jobs. Like they were all in nonprofits and trying to help people.
Joe: :What were some of your other degrees?
Lisa: :You know, accounting, I mean, that’s sort of business-related so, but I mean maybe I should’ve just been like a tax accountant. I really do like accounting. I don’t know. Maybe I should’ve gone into something like totally different. My dad always wished I had gone into like biology or maybe I should have become an engineer,
But, but also like I think it probably doesn’t matter at the end of the day. Yeah. You’re on a, you’ll take whatever path. I mean, yeah. Your path is your path.
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Joe: :Kind of walk me through a little bit of your, your career after after college, where did your path cut from there?
Lisa: :So I worked in the nonprofit industry for several years. I worked for an organization called Urban Peak, which I think is now called the place, which serves homeless and runaway youth. I also worked for an organization called Tessa, which does a lot of advocacy for victims of domestic violence in town. So, and that was all really great work. Cause I think it like fell into that. Like I want to help my community. I want to help people who need help in my community. So how could I do that during that time of doing that work though? I, I burned out, you know, maybe because, cause also like I could never work directly with people with clients. Let’s say, you know, that wasn’t my specialty. My specialty is I want to help people, but my specialty is not people.
Right. So instead what I’m really good at is running things, right? So like I can be the HR person. I can be the operations person. Like I can’t like sit with anyone face to face and solve their problems, but like I can sort of work. I can, I can support the people who can do that work. Right? Like that’s what I can be good at. So I’m working in the nonprofit industry, I’m really enjoying it, but I’m also burning out and I’m also struggling with having impact. And like, you know, these organizations are trying to solve these huge problems that are really hard to solve like youth homelessness and domestic violence, you know? And I decided that, you know, because of the family that I had too, that maybe I could make a bet bigger impact if I, instead of became an employee of these organizations, if I became a funder.
So I did some work for my family and convinced them to start a family foundation, which could start supporting these organizations in different organizations in Colorado Springs. And it also helped sort of further my love for color Springs that I could do more to just do. What I think is best for Colorado Springs has sort of a grant maker and funder of the community. So I, so simultaneously when I’m starting my family foundation, I went to a sort of strategic philanthropy school. It was like a one-year program and it was in the bay area. And while in that program we had to, so I mean, I was in that program because I was, you know, starting this family foundation and wanted to do it.
I want to say like differently, but I needed to educate myself on that. Cause like when I was probably, I wasn’t even 30, I was maybe 30 years old at the time. Right. And like here, I’m gonna start this family foundation. Like what treating is there for me? How do I learn how to do that? So, so I did it at this program in the bay area. And with that program, we had to develop, we have our sort of final project or what we had to, not like you had to graduate with, but like the final project was that you had to come up with what they called your theory of change. And actually I started like with really what’s the work that the family foundation is going to focus on. But for me, what I got sort of tied into while going to this program is again, focusing on my love of Colorado Springs.
And then thinking about like, what are the things about Colorado Springs that I don’t like? And during this time, and again, we’re talking 10 years ago, the things that frustrated me most about Colorado Springs at that time was that we were sort of not a very creative community. We were a community of definitely what’s the opposite of an early adopter. You know, like we’ve sort of were like behind the times our community didn’t have a lot of entrepreneurs. We had some like entrepreneurial history, but we weren’t doing a lot to support our entrepreneurs. Instead. I think the support and the focus of this community was on real estate development and that’s where the money was. So, you know, I just wanted like more creativity, more entrepreneurship, more people just like having crazy ideas and following them.
So I’m like in this program trying to figure out like, well, does, is that what my foundation should focus on? Or like what could I be doing? So I’m in the bay area to be in this program and I’m not there all the time. I just have to travel there. Occasionally my brother also lives in the bay area. That’s sort of what inspired me to do a program. There was to also spend time with him. And at that same time, he is a member of different co-working spaces and it’s, co-working, isn’t something I had heard of at that point. So he belongs to these different coworking spaces cause he works from home. He was working at home at the time and wanted, you know, a social outlet and wanted to meet people and wanted to, you know, thought he would do better work. Maybe not from home and needed sort of a reason to get out of the house. So he, so he was joining this coworking space.
So I’m seeing these coworking spaces trying to figure out how to like grow the entrepreneurial community in collar Springs. And I sort of like hits me like, oh, that’s what I should do. I should open up a coworking space in Colorado Springs. And I’m a firm believer in like, you want to make your city better, look at other cities that you really like steal their ideas, bring them home. Right. So, and we were, but we were not the first coworking space here. It turns out there was another great group of guys called the enclave. They were the first ones to open up a co-working space in collar Springs. So we opened up the first one downtown. So that sort of became, so I knew, I knew coming out of that program, like that’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to start this coworking space. So, so that number one, I can do something to support entrepreneur in the community. And also that I can just get to know entrepreneurs, like I’ll build them this clubhouse and they can hang out and then week and then I’ll know what they need and then I can help them and help them grow and help them take over Colorado Springs.
That’ll be so great. So that was sort of how that happened. Yeah.
Joe: :That’s beautiful. Yeah. They, they existed in the community, but they didn’t have that, that hub, that, that resource to really come together and support each other. I think the same scene, I feel like we moved it to Colorado Springs two years ago. It was like six years ago with COVID. I dunno. It seems like it kind of was how Indianapolis was a few years ago that it was also kind of that quiet entrepreneurial community and able to sort of like everybody was doing their siloed businesses out of their house or somewhere else. And then they started some of these coworking spaces, which brought us all connected and you know, everybody was in sync kind of the feel here. It doesn’t seem very competitive against each other. We’re all trying to support each other. There’s enough work in your lanes if you’re good enough at what you do. And you’re not trying to like hold on to everything and be super competitive for everybody else. And I just love that similar vibe here that you and others have created since I’ve entered the space because yeah, it was very similar to what I enjoyed it in Indianapolis. And, and it’s kinda nice to, to step in at that point in the process.
I’m kind of a naming geek? Is there any sort of like story behind the name Epicentral Coworking?
Lisa: :Good question. I was not the one that came up with it. So I came back, so I finished my program, came back to town or, you know, it was already sort of in town. Right. But started talking to people like everyone, I would meet to talk about this idea. Right. Cause I sort of wanted to vet it and figure out what people thought. And at that point, like you had to go through this whole long story of what actually co-working was. Right. Cause it wasn’t something that just like, it’s such, it’s so nice. Now it’s such a time-saver when, when I’m like, oh, I want some coworking spaces, then I don’t have to explain what coworking is. Right. It just makes conversations way shorter. It’s so nice. So I’m talking to two people I run into and just trying to like build relationships and network with people that how to start this thing. And I mean, this guy took her, wanna make her and he was like, oh my gosh, I have a friend. I know someone else who wants to start coworking space. And I was like, oh great. Can you introduce us? So he up here newses me to this woman, Hannah Parsons, who, you know, I’d never met before, but she wanted to do it too. And she wanted to do it for very, for sort of different reasons.
She was, if I remember the story correctly, or this is how I remember it. She was a real estate agent at the time. And her brand for her, her real estate company was I think like Pike’s peak urban living or Colorado Springs, urban living. Right. And she like was really focused on sort of like these downtown neighborhoods, but her office because of the, you know, the, the brokers she worked with under together, they were located on chuckwagon drive.
And she’s like, how can I be Pike’s Peak urban living and be located on Chuckwagon Drive. Like I need to be on Tahoe and Independent. I need to be downtown. I need to be like on one of these treatments that everybody knows. Right. And so, and so she had, I mean, she’s, you know, very well read in terms of like what makes cities great and how did they grow and stuff like that. So I think she, she knew about coworking. She thought color swings could really use one, use one downtown. So we started met, we started talking. We’re like, yeah, let’s just do this. Let’s just do it together. Let’s just go let’s, let’s go. So we started this coworking space. I think she actually came up with the name and I was like, okay, let’s go for it. And I think that, you know, obviously being in the time of COVID epicenter means something a little bit different. Or if we lived in a place with earthquakes, maybe we wouldn’t have that name, but you know, just wanting to be the center of the action and the place where people yeah, come together.
Joe: :So how would you describe the business to a five-year-old?
Lisa: :Yeah. And I think like I have a four year old too, and I was like, do I, does she even know what I do? Don’t talk about my work. She just thinks I go to meetings all day and she just knows like work doesn’t really matter to her what it is. That’s just where I am. Yeah. So five-year-olds, you know how some people go to an office to work and their work is in a building at a certain place. Well, not everyone has an office to go to instead. Maybe they work from home. And so maybe they don’t like working from home because at home there are a lot of distractions and there aren’t a lot of other fun people to hang out with. So we have this thing called coworking where you can leave your house to go to an office to work and hang out with other people that maybe don’t have offices in which they would normally work.
I think the other thing I like to say about coworking too, is that, you know, even if you have an office that you like to work in, sometimes that office gets boring and your brain in order for your brain to think differently, you need to go work somewhere differently. So you should go to a coworking space and have your work there.
Joe: :Yes. Love it. It’s probably the best description I’ve heard for a five-year-old.
Lisa: :So like, if a five-year-old knows what a gym is, I think that’s like the gym analogy kind of works or as a metaphor, but like, you know how your parents maybe sometimes goes to the gym to workout. Cause they don’t have all that equipment at home. Sometimes people need to get out of their house to work because they don’t have all that equipment at home, like a meeting room really fast internet.
It’s so great. I mean, it’s changing though. Like, I mean you and our clientele are like the average, maybe not like the average member. I mean, we have a lot of different types of members, but we’re seeing so many more of those sort of nomads that we didn’t see in the beginning. Right. But now like it’s becoming a part of our culture, right. That we have people that just are passing through that are visiting Colorado Springs that want it, that need to get work done for a little while. And like we’re seeing, we’re seeing a lot more, those people than we ever saw before people are like, I’m just going to be here for a week. I’m just in town for a week, checking things out, you know? So I’m going to work here or a month, you know, I rented this Airbnb for a month. I’m just passing through. So that’s interesting.
Yeah. And I think that works great even for my schedule. Cause I’ve even been to Indianapolis. I loved actually, it was part of the coworking space there, but a little tied down to it sometimes because if I’m, I’ve already paid for it, I have to go there and use a different arrangement than some of the offers. You have a little bit more just like monthly membership, you know, use it as much as, as little as you can. But I was felt like, okay, I spent the money, but I also kinda like working around the city and going down this competition, that bar or whatever I wanted to work at. And yeah, I think that’s, that’s nice to have those options. So you’re not just so tied down to two to one space every time because it’s one of the times, but we don’t get our office space because you’re, you’re kind of stuck in that space as well.
Joe: So is it, you know, I think about my experiences in the coworking space, you know, and it’s a quiet space to kind of, it’s a creative, more creative space sometimes to get out of your own, your own, just to get you to leave the house or either it gives you home or not, or you’re just always there. So it’s good. It’s good. There is there other, as you thought about it, from my changing the community of Colorado Springs, how did you see the space leveraging that? Not just giving people a very quiet space. How did you change the landscape of entrepreneurship around here?
Lisa: I think that, I, I think that we are all inherently social beings, right? Like no matter, I mean, even if we’re really introverted and I’m fairly introverted, we still need people and we want to be around people. Maybe we don’t just want to talk to them, but we want to be around them. And I think that, I think that what we do, one of the things we do best is creating our community, is creating a community. And so, you know, it’s not only the people, you know, especially when I think about like maybe freelancers contract workers that they don’t always feel like they have a work home, you know, and we can be that work home. We will throw your holiday party.
We have weekly happy hours. You know, some people are new to town or maybe they don’t have a huge social life. Right. But like there are groups of people here that like go to have like a little restaurant club and they try different restaurants. So it’s like, if you also, I mean, some people are just here to work and they just need a quiet space to work in a place. We have home to work and that’s fine. That’s great. Some people just need to come for meetings cause they need meeting space. Cause they prefer not to invite their clients into their home. Right. And that’s great. But I think the most special thing that we can offer if someone wants it and if someone needs it is is that community that, that, you know, you want to know about a great bar.
You want to know a great place to have lunch. You want to go on a bike ride with some people you want to go to a soccer game with some people like you have a group here that will with you and we’ll want to go with you. So I think, and then you have a group of people here that will celebrate you when you have success that will support you when things are not going so well, you have a group of people who will help you solve your problems. You have a group of people here who you might hire or they might hire you. You know, like the amount of, I mean, that’s so like that community, like we’ve had members that have met here and gotten married. We also have members who have met here dated and then broke up, which is a little more awkward and more difficult to navigate. Right. We have members that have started businesses with each other cause they met each other in the space and sort of one bounce an idea off another one.
And then it became a reality. Right? So that’s, I think that’s the most magical thing is like bringing it, just bring people together and see what happens. And I think that we’re better together. So, so yeah, as far as improving the entrepreneur community, people are meeting with each other and they’re hiring each other, they’re using each other, you know, for whatever services they offer. They’re starting businesses together. People are feeling supported. People are talking about new ideas, you know, especially, and also if you have like a new entrepreneur versus a more experienced entrepreneur, like, Hey, when did you make that leap of quitting your job? You know, just that you can have those conversations and you have a, you have a trusted, experienced ear or just someone to bounce ideas off of. I think that’s really nice. And the other thing, as far as how it’s helped the community is that, and this is of course more pre COVID.
Joe: Yeah. I agree. I mean, there’s, especially in this COVID, there’s COVID whatever you would say world where we, I just haven’t had that personal interaction really that human contact with people and even just the neurons firing through eye contact you, did you didn’t really play out the same way through zoom. How did COVID affect your business? And it wasn’t, was it sort of typical is, is shut down for awhile and you’re up and running today?
Lisa: So yeah, when the shutdown happened, you know, we were also shut down. I mean, some members were considered those essential workers or had an essential business. So they could still, I mean, our, our space is sort of, you know, we didn’t staff it because our staff was staying home. Right. But people who had to kept, I mean, people can access the space whenever they want it’s their space. So some people were coming in because they were considered essential. But we also, we, yeah, we collected no income for over a month because we didn’t feel like it was right to charge people, memberships if they couldn’t come here and use our services or use the buildings. So yeah, we shut down. That was rough, starting up again. You know, I think that people missed coworking.
But they also didn’t want to work with a mask on and I get that, you know, but of course we’re going to follow any state mandates or county mandates that there are. So you’re going to have to wear a mask when you’re walking around. So for a lot of people just didn’t make sense to come yet until certain restrictions were lifted. There was also this issue of sort of capacity that, you know, co the way, of course, there’s a couple of different ways to make money in coworking, the best way to make money as to a private office sort of not leases, but memberships, right? Like your office is make the most money. And then if you want to make money and open coworking, like with your part-time or full-time serve hot desk memberships, you got to cram a lot of people into a space, not good to cram a lot of people into a space during a pandemic.
So, you know, we had to move all of our furniture and we can only have so many chairs and I totally get it. And it was the right thing to do. Right. But our capacity was super low. So we couldn’t really, we lost a lot of members of course, because they’re staying home and rightfully so, but then people that were willing to come back and couldn’t have a lot of people of a lot of people come back, cause we just didn’t have the space and people needed to be spread out. So things are definitely picking up. Things are normalizing. We’re seeing a lot of our former members coming back and it’s so great. We’re seeing a lot of new members. So things are definitely picking back up. We’re still having to, but we’re still regrouping and we’re still growing. And it was hard. It was, it was definitely hard. And I think that just, you know, are granted, yes, we provide people with space, but really if you ask the staff about what it is, we do, like, what we love to do is bring people together and connect them.
And it’s not an ideal time to do that during a pandemic. Right. Cause we sort of specialize in doing that in person. So yeah. We’re, we’re, we’re trying to.
Joe: When you kind of looking back at that time, when you were headed off to the bay area and started having this tension within your city and things there, how would you compare and contrast Colorado’s friends, business community at that time to today? What are some changes or some,
Lisa: I mean it’s like night and day, right? I mean, downtown, Colorado Springs is thriving, which is something I wouldn’t necessarily have said. I mean, it was always one of a place that I like to be. Right. But the amount of new restaurants, new things to do, museums, stadiums, pike, right. I mean, everybody wants to be downtown. We always wanted to be downtown, but now everyone else does too. It’s so great. Right. So downtown is thriving and then there’s just, there’s so much more energy around the entrepreneurial community. There’s so many more organizations who are doing incredible work, you know, trying to grow the entrepreneur entrepreneurial community. You know, I think of exponential impact.
You know, there are many more coworking spaces, which I think is great. I mean sure. It’s, it’s it’s competition. Right. But I think it’s so great. Right. And I believe that all those horizon, this city is only getting bigger, so we’re going to need more and more coworking spaces. So, but yeah, no, I think that, I think that now it’s certainly more normal to say like, oh, I work out of a coworking space or I’m going to a meeting at this coworking space or I’m going to have my meet up group of the coworkers. So I mean, that feels great. I think, yeah. Entrepreneurials entrepreneurs in town don’t feel so alone. Contract workers don’t feel so alone. Freelancers don’t feel so alone. And people who are remote workers don’t feel so alone and we’re just seeing more and more of them. And I just, it’s great.
Shannon: You’ve been listening to the Metaphorically Speaking podcast. At Keyhole Marketing, we tell big stories for small businesses. If you’re in the Colorado Springs area and ready to tell your business story, we’d love to come alongside you and help you with your content, branding, SEO, social media, or photography needs. For an instant glimpse at your current marketing strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities, take our free marketing assessment, or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know how we can help tell your story.