Women Entrepreneurship

FROM COLAB TO COVEN: Minnesota-Based Co-Working Space Expanding to Eau Claire

Twin Cities franchise to open in downtown E.C., take over CoLab's current location

Sheng Yang |

COMMUNITY COVEN. Minnesota-based biz, The Coven, is opening its first non-Minnesota location in Eau Claire. It will move into the current CoLab space on Barstow Street, CoLab relocating to the former Antique Emporium building. (Photos via Facebook)
COMMUNITY COVEN. CoLab, a coworking space at 131 S. Barstow St. in Eau Claire, will soon be rebranded as The Coven to reflect its affiliation with the Minnesota-based coworking community. (Photos by Bethany Birnie)

Every great entrepreneur needs a few things: a great idea, a great team, and a great workplace to make their dreams come true. And as with the first two components, finding a quality workspace or office that can be used to develop concepts does not always come easily or cheaply.

Since April 2019, the team at CoLab has offered space and resources for startup companies and entrepreneurs in the Chippewa Valley. At that time, it was nestled at 312 S. Barstow St., offered membership-based access for users, and supplied them with fully furnished office spaces and equipment. Currently, CoLab is located in the Barstow Commons at 131 S. Barstow St., and plans are already underway for a mid-2024 final move to an already iconic Eau Claire building: the former Antique Emporium at 306 Main St. in downtown Eau Claire.

"This is a really great time to promote togetherness, and this space will be a great place to do that."



Other big changes, for the better, are coming for the team at CoLab and its members: Nearly a year ago, a Twin Cities-based co-working community, The Coven, adopted a franchising model that would allow for other similar co-working spaces to take advantage of the proven success that comes with being a part of The Coven brand.

The Coven has been recognized as the first woman-owned co-working franchise in the world. Ms. Alex West Steinman, The Coven’s co-founder and spokesperson, is thrilled to name Eau Claire as the first Coven location outside Minnesota.

When asked why Eau Claire and the CoLab space was chosen as the first out-of-Minnesota location, she said, “The Coven is a community-engaged organization and so is CoLab. We are excited to amplify it even more! Eau Claire residents will be amazed at all the ways to engage and collaborate at The Coven!”

Don’t think for a minute that the core identity of CoLab will disappear, though: There are deep connections between CoLab and The Coven. CoLab has a very similar feel and vibe to the existing Coven spaces in the Twin Cities. This is because Erinn Farrell, one of Coven’s co-founders, designed the current CoLab space as well as the existing Coven locations.

An office at one of The Coven's locations

The Pablo Group, which owns CoLab, will still oversee operations as it transitions into The Coven. Elaine Coughlin, director of entrepreneurship and investment for Pablo Group, was overjoyed when speaking about the transition to The Coven.

“This is a really great time to promote togetherness, and this space will be a great place to do that,” she said. “We are a small but mighty team. The Coven, its leadership and directives, will help us all grow.” 

The grand opening of the rebranded CoLab into The Coven Eau Claire will be at 2pm on Thursday, Nov. 16, at 131 S. Barstow St., Suite 202. The event will be open to the public.

For more information and to stay up-to-date on The Coven in Eau Claire, visit colabec.com. For more information on The Coven and its franchise opportunities, visit thecoven.com.