With the new normal of working remotely and spending more time at home this year, it may be difficult to find the motivation to be productive. MKE CoWork, located in downtown West Allis, offers innovative space for those looking for the opportunity to work on their own projects in a community atmosphere.
The business, which officially opened Aug. 17, is run by two former project management owners, Edward Riggenbach and Matt Maurice.
Maurice, the Chief Opportunity Officer and co-owner at MKE CoWork, said the main goal of their business is to provide affordable and accessible high-end office space to small entrepreneurs and freelancers.
He said they have a community of people who use the common area to start, and then sort of graduate throughout their business needs. The company offers private offices, shared offices, teams rooms and photo booths, which clients can book based on their needs.
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“A lot of our space is for individuals that need access to meeting space, high-end furniture, fiber internet, coffee … all the amenities that a high-end office basically gives you,” Maurice said. “But because we share it with a local community, you don’t have to pay the cost that is associated with that type of office space.”
After Maurice and Riggenbach had been competitors for several years, each with their own individual property management companies, Maurice said they decided to merge companies in 2018.
As a business owner, Maurice said it was hard to be productive or motivated, and still fulfill that social need.
“When we were starting our own businesses working from home, (community) was a piece we completely missed,” Maurice said. “I think a lot of people like being able to roll out of bed and jump on their laptop and do their work, at the end of the day there’s still that community piece that’s missing.”
“I think the loneliness that is involved with starting a business and working from home is really what we’re trying to solve.”
He said most of the foundational logic behind starting MKE CoWork was to create a place they would have liked to have when they first started their business, and they hope to help solve the loneliness that comes with starting a business.
“To a certain degree, we hope that our space is a place where people can find potential partnerships, or at the bare minimum, find people that you can talk to and share ideas with,” Maurice said.
To achieve this goal, MKE CoWork offers personalized desks exclusive to your own use, private offices with a small niche for additional storage and team offices with a built in monitor and sound protection. There is also extra lounge space for anyone to use, and lots of natural light and big windows in many of the rooms.
Depending on the space clients choose to book, the price may vary from $30 a month for a one-time visit to $2000 a month for team office space.
The company also offers a MKE CoWork membership, which includes unlimited access to all common amenities, month-to-month payment, networking opportunities and access to events, according to their website.
“No matter the size of your company or the budget, we got a space that will work for you,” said Riggenbach, co-owner of MKE CoWork with Maurice.
He also shared how COVID-19 has impacted their business so far and how they needed to adjust.
He said that while many people are working from home because of COVID-19, MKE CoWork is another reason for people to get out of the house and make connections safely.
“We have a lot of open space and just a lot of different areas to go,” Riggenbach said. “So you can still work around people, but still keep your distance and feel comfortable.”
Riggenbach said his favorite benefit from working at MKE CoWork is the connections you make.
“When you’re working from here, you might see a lawyer one day or an accountant the next day, or somebody in sales, or marketing,” he said. “It’s just the network that it gives you access to.”
Some companies that currently use their space is a woman from Reinhart law firm and the real estate company, Boardwalk Realty.