If you’re a telecommuter, or get the occasional opportunity to work from home, you’re likely familiar with your local coffee shop. It provides an atmosphere away from the office, without the comforts of home, where you can get a few hours of work done. But what about when it comes time to conduct a meeting or an interview, or print out a document? You can’t really accomplish many of those tasks at your run of the mill coffee chain.
Thanks to Michael Keith, owner of Royal Oak’s new The Office Coffee Shop, 402 S. Lafayette St., you’ll soon be able to accomplish all of those tasks at a third workspace. The flexible workspace coffee shop allows local professionals of all industries to collaborate in a shared space, where networking is the norm and coffee is always flowing. The space offers private offices, a conference room, printing, scanning and copying machines, dual monitors, high speed Internet and more.
The idea originated from Keith’s habits back in college, where he spent a fair amount of time studying in coffee shops. He found he enjoyed the coffee shop atmosphere over the library, which carried over after graduation. Throughout his career as a mechanical engineer, he found his days ending at a coffee shop, and when his job started to involve more travel, he’d even conduct interviews there. With that, the idea for The Office Coffee Shop was born.
“I just really enjoyed the shared workspace, I love entrepreneurship, all those different things… there’s a lot of challenges to starting a business, and I wanted a creative space that could help foster that,” Keith said.
Thus, he and his wife, Brooke, decided to create a business involving both of their interests: for him, it was a shared workspace involving coffee. For her, it was philanthropy. In order to pay it forward, 5 percent of every purchase made at The Office Coffee Shop goes to one of four selected charities, including Forgotten Harvest, Water.org, Wigs 4 Kids and Team Joseph.
Keith said he and his wife want to make a difference with their business, and it’s already working: people have called to get involved with the Wigs 4 Kids organization after seeing posters in their storefront windows.
As for the location of that storefront, Keith appreciates the downtown feel that Royal Oak provides, and said that the vibrant downtown area, good schools and great community are what sold it.
Unlike some shared workspaces, The Office Coffee Shop is open to the public and focuses on natural networking where you don’t need a monthly membership to participate. It’s a place for everyone to conduct business, whether you’re in real estate or work as a financial planner.
Keith noted how when you’re not in an office on a daily basis, you find yourself not interacting with as many people and it becomes more challenging to stay focused on your tasks and do your work. With the number of entrepreneurs and contract workers growing, they don’t have a lease on a building or a meeting space. The Office Coffee Shop provides the perfect environment to fit all of those needs by providing a third workspace.
Whether you need a space to work for an afternoon or somewhere to conduct a large meeting, you can do it all at The Office Coffee Shop. There are three private rooms available by the hour, which can be rented on a first come, first served basis, or in advance. Private offices hold two to four people, while the training room is much larger and great for up to 25 people.
No one is equipped to work on an empty (or un-caffeinated) stomach, and The Office Coffee Shop provides plenty of goodies. Order a fresh cup of joe from Kalamazoo’s Water Street Coffee Roaster, or snack on a New York bagel or cannoli from Holy Cannoli’s.
“Our food products are different partnerships we’ve made over the past year or so with different people,” Keith explained, noting that after business gets going, he hopes to branch out to more substantial food items like sandwiches made from scratch.
Since Keith has many years of experience working from home under his belt, he recognizes the challenges and knows that remote employees are growing in numbers quickly.
“It sounds great when you get to do it on a Friday or a Monday, but do it five days in a row and I challenge you to do it 20 days in a row. It becomes very monotonous,” Keith said.
Keith hopes to open The Office Coffee Shop to the public within the week. For up to date news on The Office Coffee Shop, including the announcement on the opening date, visit the official website or Facebook page.