“I don’t know if you’ve heard of the concept of your ‘third place,’” William Goodrich, or Bill, asked me, and I hadn’t. “Some people go to church, some people go to a pub. We’re creating something of a second and third place in one. You come here to work, but you also come to interact with your community. And I’m not sure other co-working spaces provide that.”
The concept of “the third place” refers to the social surroundings separate from the two usual social environments of home and the workplace, something that sociologists have deemed an extremely important aspect of social well-being. Talking to Co-founder Bill and Director of Operations Rebecca Schwager, they have bridged the gap between your second and third place—making it one at The Studio (Boulder).
The Studio (Boulder) describes its inception as a response to seclusion. As a place for creative entrepreneurs, freelancers and professionals, The Studio (Boulder) has grown into one of the most vibrant and dynamic professional communities in Boulder. Initially a velodrome (an indoor bike arena), a third of the space served as an art studio for Bill’s Co-founder Jen Lewin when they first moved in. The rest of the space was a co-working and event space until Jen’s move to New York. Since then, The Studio’s space has evolved uniquely. “It was very industrial,” says Bill. During their total buildout in 2013, their team reconfigured the mezzanine, moved some stairs around, built all of the offices, workshops, bathrooms and kitchen, which is now considered the heart of the space.
“Back in 2013, Jen and I both recognized this desire we had: to work in a space on your own projects, but be surrounded by other hardworking people who are doing their own thing too,” says Bill. “It gives you the chance to work hard but also have fun.”
That desire came well before the “co-working boom,” and at a time when remote work was not nearly as commonplace as it now is. Priding themselves on being more than just a co-working space, Bill, Jen and Rebecca think of the space as a community hub, or a clubhouse. The Studio offers 24/7 access for members, free parking, private event space, and an extra perk: dog friendly. “Sometimes it feels like there are more dogs here than people,” says Bill.
Coming up on its 10th anniversary, The Studio has firmly established itself as the eclectic, creative co-working and event venue that it is now known as. Inside lives a vintage airstream (available to book for meetings, etc.), reclaimed vintage doors used in the place of boring partitions to separate desks and a kitchen stocked with free coffee, tea, beer and snacks for members.
More than their desire to fill desks, Rebecca speaks to the importance they place on the curated energy of the space that attracts and encourages creatives from all different walks of life.“It’s a mutual relationship,” Rebecca says. “From the very beginning, it was ‘let's make sure to have diversity in terms of industry and people.’ It’s a curated community filled with people who are actively engaged and contributing to the environment.”
Along with co-working, The Studio (Boulder) also offers its space up for events: bat/bar mitzvahs, corporate events, milestone birthdays and wedding receptions are just a few of the many potentials of the creative hub.
“Boulder can be inaccessible when it comes to venues,” says Rebecca. “I’ve worked in the start-up world for a long time, and I believe in creating products and services that are accessible. And when I say accessible, I mean affordable. You’re cutting out so much of the population and potential if you’re only focused on revenue.”
As they never really planned for events to be a main component of the business, Bill, Jen and Rebecca have been pleasantly surprised and encouraged with the events held thus far. “People just want a place to gather with their loved ones,” says Rebecca. “It is a really unique space where we try to accommodate as many types of events and professionals as possible.” Another note worth mentioning: with a membership, any member can host any event under 40 people for zero dollars. “We always want to support cool and fun stuff happening. We want our members to be a part of a vibrant community, and to feel a sense of ownership of their own space,” says Bill.
The Studio (Boulder) is a place for positive collaboration, inspiration and is filled with hard-working individuals. It’s also a place for fun, jokes and good chunks of serendipitous and productivity-free conversation to make your workday go by a little bit faster. And on top of it all—they sure know how to throw a party.