Co-working space opening in Stonington mill

Stonington — A new 1,000-square-foot co-working space is opening in the former American Velvet Mill on Bayview Avenue.

Founders Sam Chesebrough and Kevin Bowdler said the new space, called Shared Quarters, will be aimed at entrepreneurs, freelancers and remote workers. The idea, which came out of meetings of the Stonington Village Improvement Association, is to offer people in the community who don't want to work at home a more creative, collaborative and productive environment, the Stonington residents said.

"We hope Shared Quarters can become a hub for like-minded professionals to merge the freedoms of working individually with the social and network benefits of a dedicated workspace full of other smart and ambitious people," the founders said in a release.

Bowdler said in a phone interview that the Shared Quarters co-working space can accommodate about 30 workers at a time. Spaces will ultimately cost participants $250 a month, he added, but early adopters will be able to get in for a monthly fee of $125.

Shared Quarters members will get a desk and chair as well as access to Wi-Fi, a color printer and an area for coffee and tea with no minimum lease agreement. Most will work on their own laptops, and rentals also will be available on a daily basis.

"We'll listen to what people are asking for," Bowdler added.

Bowdler said very few co-working spaces are located between New Haven and Providence. One of the few, Foundry 66 in Norwich, opened last year in a space previously occupied by The Bulletin in Norwich.

The Shared Quarters founders said they hope the new space "will serve as a catalyst for growth in Stonington Borough, and the area in general." They noted U.S. Department of Labor estimates that more than a third of all Americans will be working in a solo capacity by 2020.

Many people, said Bowdler, feel more productive working in a shared space rather than fighting the distractions at home. He said he expects to start filling up the space within the next few weeks, drawing from a probable market area in a 10- to 15-mile radius.

"I think the Velvet Mill is going to be a very attractive place to be," he said.

Local nonprofits and community organizations will be able to use the space during off-hours free of charge. Shared Quarters will hold an open house from 5 to 8 p.m. Thursday. For more information, visit www.sharedquarters.com.

l.howard@theday.com

 

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