Posted on December 4, 2012
Greenfield’s Innovation Center: Can We Make It Happen?
I remember well the times that I would be counting the meager earnings while looking over the bills to be paid at the GoNOMAD Cafe. I used to think, jeez, what will I do when I have to close this place? Where would I go if I didn’t have a cafe and a busy website office to come to every day?
In May I got the answer, when I closed up the office and began the life of a work-at-home editor. Now it’s time to figure out a better way. I can’t spend any more time working at home alone, it’s just not what I want. No matter how much I’m saving, I’ve got to get out into the world and work with other people.
So with this in mind, I’ve begun trying to hatch a plan with my friend Jeff, who also works at home and shares the same frustration, and interest in working with like-minded people. I want to open up a work space that would be shared by 10 or 20 people, a place where innovation, cooperation and ideas could spread. Everyone would just have a desk, (some could have offices, too) and they would have access to amenities like Wi-Fi, heat, lights and maybe a coffee bar. It’s the hottest thing in places like Cambridge, where the Cambridge Innovation Center is busting out with start-ups and creative types. They’re also doing this in Northampton and in Shelburne Falls.
So today I stopped into the Franklin County chamber and spoke to the most connected person in Greenfield–Becky George. As the Chamber’s activities director, she is involved with just about everything happening in Greenfield, and I told her about my idea. The first thing, she said, after she told me about many intriguing possibilities for places that might be great shared work spaces, is to get the people on board. We need to compile a list of work-at-home people who would like to work with others. Who is willing to commit and take the plunge?
Then we began to contemplate all of the empty large spaces in town–from the First National Bank on Bank Row, to the former Carr Hardware, to the former restaurant space at Lunt Silversmiths, to the CDC’s building that’s now a business incubator. This kind of arrangement would take an unleased building and fill it with life. It’s exactly the kind of business every town wants–clean, simple, and it has the possibility to create larger companies with more employees.
Now I’m putting out a call. If you or someone you know works at home and would like a place to work where there are creative people to talk to, and a nice space that’s bigger than your home office, but still doesn’t cost as much as a private office, email me, and I’ll add you to our list. Help me make this great idea a reality in Greenfield!