Contemporary CoLabing: CoLab’s New Barstow Digs
the workspace will call Barstow St. home until its 2024 move into historic Antique Emporium building
McKenna Scherer, photos by Andrea Paulseth |
Colab, a unique collaborative workspace, reopened in a brand-new space in early June, revamped and upgraded in just about every way. From its original space a few blocks away, CoLab now resides in Suite 202 at 131 S. Barstow St., formerly home of U.S. Bank.
“People don’t necessarily know that we exist or know what a co-working space really is,” said CoLab Community Manager Adam Accola. “We kind of describe our membership like a gym membership, where you can kind of just pop in whenever.”
CoLab’s new space offers an array of options to plop down and get a day’s worth of work done, whether as a group in either of their two conference rooms equipped with virtual tech, at a single-person desk, at any of their tables and booths or in their noise-canceling “phone booths,” perfect for non-disruptive phone and Zoom calls.
Decked out with intricate and intentional decor, the new CoLab offers a chic modern layout that fuses traditional office space style with a coffee-shop feel. Most of the artwork was created by Twin Cities artists, with the main conference room’s mural painted by Eau Claire Memorial High School graduate (and current Minneapolis artist) Emily Quandahl. Its unique built-in wood booths and table were built by Eau Claire’s Tree Purpose.
“Our new space was designed by Erin Farrell who owns two co-working spaces called The Coven in the Twin Cities,” Accola said. “She does interior design on the side and really has that co-working mentality when she’s designing a space.”
CoLab took major inspiration from The Coven, a community workspace geared towards professionals with a focus on transgender and non-binary folks and women of color, Accola explained. “The Pablo Group invested in their organization so we kind of got connected with them that way.”
The Pablo Group first opened CoLab intending to provide coworking space to entrepreneurs and remote workers, or those who simply don’t have their own traditional workspace. Now, CoLab has become a large network of folks from all career paths and offers amenities like a fully-equipped kitchen with fresh coffee, tea, and appliances for member use; a printer/copier/scanner and general office supplies; and top-notch Wi-Fi.
However, the new CoLab space is a transitional one, as the wheels are already turning on the next move, which will land them in what is currently the Antique Emporium, 306 Main St. The longtime antique store, owned by Hugh and Marcella Passow, was sold to the Pablo Group late last year.
Accola said the Antique Emporium will be transitioning out of that space for the rest of this year. Construction on what will eventually be CoLab will start next January, with the goal of moving into the remodeled space by mid-2024. “We designed (the Barstow location) with mobility in mind, so almost everything here can pretty much be picked up and taken over (to the Antique Emporium),” Accola said.
Though the historic building has five floors including the basement, CoLab will occupy the second floor and its mezzanine, triple the amount of space it once had in its original space, and 50% more space than its current Barstow location, which is almost 9,500 square feet.
After CoLab leaves the Barstow spot, the Pablo Group will continue to rent out the office space.
“I think at the moment, we’re still kind of figuring out exactly what works and what people are looking for in the Chippewa Valley as far as workspace,” Accola said. “We’ve had a lot of people reaching out and inquiring about single-person, private offices, so we’re trying to determine if that’s the type of customer that we want to focus on or if we want to focus on the more communal aspects, because that’s part of the point of co-working, being able to interact with others that don’t necessarily work with you.”
CoLab offers two memberships, a virtual membership, and a single- and five-day pass, which can all be purchased on their website.
- Flex Membership: $120/month includes access to non-reserved seating in common areas, advance booking of phone and conference rooms, amenities.
- Dedicated Membership: $300/month includes your own powered, sit-stand enabled desk in CoLab, lockable storage next to it, 24/7 key fob access, amenities and benefits of the flex.
- Private Office: rates vary and are for teams of 4+ who need additional private space.
- Virtual Office: $50/month includes use of CoLab’s address as a business address and use of PilotoMail, three-day passes and one hour in the conference room per month, member-only events.
Visit CoLab’s website for more information and keep up with them on Facebook (@colab.ec), or visit in-person at 131 S. Barstow St., Suite 202, Eau Claire.