New business offers mountain residents coworking space
By Jeffrey V. Smith
Working where you live is much easier said than done when living in a rural mountain community. Jobs are limited and so are resources for those who work at home. Steve and Jen Karowe hope to change that standard in the Peak to Peak region with Hub Ned, a coworking, private office and meeting space they carved out of their new Nederland building at 80 Big Springs Drive.
Hub Ned offers a brand new, green-friendly workspace with options from “hot desks” to dedicated offices accessible 24/7 along with large and small conference rooms. A host is on duty during open hours to welcome visitors, assist with logistical needs, keep things clean and connect business people to each other. There’s also hard-wired internet and professional computer printers as well as a kitchen, shower and other perks like great views of the mountains and town.
“The whole point of the building and the coworking space is to have a place for people who live in Nederland to be able to work in Nederland so they don’t have to go down the hill to one of the other coworking spaces, or to an office or something,” Jen said. “If people can work from home, if they’re allowed to work remotely or if they are self-employed and get distracted by the laundry or the dog or the lack of WiFi, they can come here and buckle down to get the job done. So, basically, we are just trying to support anyone who is trying to make some money and give them a place to do that.”
The idea for a “nice, professional” community coworking space in the mountains developed when Steve was conceptualizing a building to relocate his Boulder-based African basket business to his long-time hometown of Nederland. “I started hearing about all these [coworking] hubs around Boulder, Denver, the country and the world, and I was thinking it would be awesome for up here because we are all landlocked and everybody drives down to Boulder and back so often, he said. “We had this space available, so we thought it would be great just to try it.”
Although the concept is popular in most urban areas, the Karowes have found many mountain residents are unfamiliar with the idea of a coworking space. “It’s a place to work in the community for people who work remotely and want to have some sort of connection to other humans,” Jen explained. “In this area, you can get a little isolated. A lot of people live here because they like that, but sometimes you don’t want it every day of your life, especially in the winter.”
One of the most important assets Hub Ned offers is its fiber optic WiFi. “We paid to bring it all in and that’s a huge selling point for up here… We felt we were really positioned well here because of the geography of people in the Peak to Peak area not having good internet and not having easy access to this kind of a place without driving 45 minutes or more,” Steve explained.
In addition to a large, open community work space on the main level, there is a room upstairs with seven “private” desks for rent. “If you want to keep your stuff here, you would have your personal filing cabinet that you can lock, and you can leave your computer if you want or just your pen and pencil and it’s your desk,” Jen said. “You would also have a key to the building, so you can come in anytime.” There are also two conference room spaces upstairs which are already being used regularly by local organizations.
Although unexpected, the Karowes are excited about how the building’s occupants and Hub Ned users are coming together. “It’ really cool how it’s like a community,” Steve said. “It’s just neat because when I was building it, it was just a building. But because of the kind of place Nederland is, it really has turned into a community. You see people you know and friends in the building all the time.”
Steve also points out that Hub Ned provides jobs to three locals and their 15 offices are filled with people who live within 15 minutes of their work space. A solar panel company located in the building has local owners who moved the company up from Boulder and can now hire local. “It’s really neat just to see that how much this building has helped with creating jobs for people that live up here and keeping people up here,” he said.
The Karowes also want the space to support people who are business-minded, so they are making the space available for business development workshops, “lunch and learn” classes and other events. Hub Ned has already attracted a wide range of workers including an attorney, accountant, data entry person, writer, recruiter, software developer and other internet-based business people.
Now that it has been open for several months, the Karowes now hope Peak to Peak residents will come check out Hub Ned. “We have free day-passes that we’ll give out to anyone who wants to see the space and try it out,” Steve said. “We’re in the mode of just opening up and getting the word out and have people come in and try it. We figure the more people that see the space and sit here for a day will be energized and tell their friends it’s actually pretty nice over there.”
According to Jen, the couple are very invested in the community and only have the best intentions when it comes to serving the town. “Being locals, we care about the community. Our kids are in kindergarten and first grade [in Nederland], so we’re not going anywhere,” Jen said. “We tried really hard to make sure we built a place that people weren’t going to be totally offended by… It’s funny to see people walk in the door, stop and say, ‘this is really nice.’”
Visit hubned.com or call 303-848-2520 to learn about membership options, which range in price from $45-$250 a month, and upcoming events. Stop in Hub Ned in person at 80 Big Springs Dr. to tour the space and inquire about a free day pass.
© Photos by Jeffrey V. Smith
© Originally published int he May 2018 issue of the MMAC Monthly