Redefining what it means to be a coworker in Wilmington

    Entrepreneurs and self-employed workers will soon be able to access a members only work space in downtown Wilmington that’s specifically designed to meet their needs.

    You’ve seen them in the coffee shop, working their laptop and cellphone.  They’re entrepreneurs or self-employed workers who usually work in a home office or maybe even their garage, but occasionally venture out to do their work around other people (and maybe to take advantage of free wi-fi).

    Soon, those lone wolves of the working world will have an office space dedicated to serving their needs in downtown Wilmington.  It’s called the coIN Loft (short for community innovation), and is located in the 300 block of W. 9th Street, just a short walk from Rodney Square.

    One of the loft’s founders, Wes Garnett says the space will give entrepreneurs and other independent workers access to a workspace, private office and use of two conference rooms.  Memberships are done on a month-to-month commitment, and provides access to the facility based on the member’s needs, from just a few days a month to every day of the month.  Membership fees range from $40 to $300 per month.

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    Garnett says, “We wanted to bring people together to make real things happen for real people.  Not depending on our city to support us every little step of the way.”  The city did provide the loft with a $15,000 loan that will not have to be paid back as long as the loft maintains leasing agreements with at least 20 smaller companies over each of the  next five years.

    Mayor Baker says the coIN Loft is another sign of resurgence along 9th Street, especially with the leadership of young entrepreneurs like the ones behind the coworking space.  “If we just support the young people of our community who have great ideas, we won’t have to worry about the future.”  Baker says it will take creative ideas like this one to help the nation’s economy recover.  “The only way we can grow as a nation now is to create new ideas and new businesses, which some of them will eventually become new industries, and it’s going to take a long while.”

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