Hello my friends,

I am new to this group & I am new to the coworking space community. I have recently rehabbed and converted my commercial property located in downtown Imlay City, Michigan. It is a coworking space with conference rooms, private suites and desk rentals.
The area is mostly rural. Are there other coworking spaces in smaller rural areas (4000+/-)? What are the challenges?
Thank You,

Third Street Lofts & Business Center LLC
240 East Third Street

Imlay City, MI 48444

Hey Ray,
The local population of my city is 90,000-- so we are bigger than you, but the city as a whole is largely lower income so our market ends up being pretty small for coworking. I’ve found the biggest challenge is educating the population about what coworking is and the benefits. Since we have no competitors, the first time many people discover coworking is through us. It helps to focus your marketing on differentiating between coworking and familiar options (working from home, coffee shop, renting a traditional office).

Also, since you are in a small market tactics like flyers, networking, and word of mouth are very powerful! Good luck.

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Hi Ray,

Following Sarah’s comments… since you are in a less urban area, one of your biggest challenges will likely be educating your prospective clients about what you do and why it could be a benefit to them. In this vein, you may want to consider expanding on the “Benefits” section of your website to show how you are different & better than the alternatives and you might try to host local events in your space to let people experience your space. You may also try to work with a local chamber of commerce (if you have one) in hosting events at your space.

Best wishes to you!

Hi guys,
I agree that educating people on the space is key. I do have an an advantage that I purchased the building, it has 4 apartments on the upper floor & I occupy one suite with my brokerage / auction business. I do work closely with the local chamber & DDA. I was introduced to the coworking spaces several years ago by friend who has a facility. I loved the concept and decided to think outside the box of conventional rentals and do the coworking space. We are also starting monthly programs at the facility.

That sounds great! Best wishes to you.

Hey Ray,

I’m new to the group - how are things going so far? I live in a very rural community and am afraid that folks won’t take to the idea…before you opened your doors, how much market research / validation did you do? Did you do group meet ups to education folks on what coworking is? just curious how things all got started for you and if you’re willing to share your experiences. Thank you!

I kind of backed into it. My wife and myself purchased the property as an investment. Upper floor has 4 apartments we rent out. Lower level had 2 businesses suites. There was a renter occupying both suites when purchased & moved out about 4 months later. We rehabilitated the business suites as they needed many updates. I had also just gotten my broker license so I decided to put my brokerage in one suite and offer the rest as a co-working space. So I am using the space for my own office. Just trying to think outside the box to generate more income. Did not do any research and honestly if someone came in and wanted the whole suite I would lease it all.