KEARNEY — While living in Thailand, Chais and Shawna Meyer of Kearney worked remotely from mom-and-pop coffee shops and restaurants, their studio apartment or rental house.
When the Meyers wanted to get out of their house, Chais said he and his wife would work on their laptops as a web developer and blogger, respectively, and use the WiFi in a small shop with six to seven tables. Other remote workers also would fill the tables for hours.
After awhile, Chais said he and Shawna thought about it.
“I saw it as a strain on coffee shops because that wasn’t their intention. Their intention was to sell stuff. And we were kind of using it and we felt bad about it,” he said.
But during their 2011-13 stint in Thailand, they learned about a new workspace concept. In these spaces, that were just being developed there, the Meyers could work in a large shop among to 25-30 remote workers. As long as they paid for single-serve coffees and food, Chais said they could stay there as long as they wanted.
“Once we saw the collaborative workspace environment we kind of latched onto that culture, and met a ton of people,” Chais said. “And we started dreaming of what would we want in a co-working space as a start-up business?”
The Meyers, who own 24-Hour Tees; Nebraska Apparels; and the meal prep-service, Nest:Prep, now are making that dream a reality. They have started constructing a co-working business called, Nest:Space, at 2224 Central Ave. in downtown Kearney.
The front portion of the first floor of the building previously was home to Kearney Quality Sew & Vac. The Meyers have access to the entire 3,000-square-foot first floor and expect to be finished with construction by mid-March.
Nest:Space will provide more amenities than what the Meyers experienced in Thailand. In Kearney, they are building a place they thought they would want to use.
“Ours is significantly more complex than what theirs was,” Chais said. He added that he and Shawna asked, “How can we do it that it’s profitable enough so you can keep upgrading the facility or keep maintaining it at a really high level and keep providing a lot of amenities?”
The result is a business that includes five 5-by-5-foot micro-offices for Kearneyites accustomed to private
desks and chairs, and an open commons area where others can hook up their laptops and enjoy a variety of seating. Shawna, who is designing the layout and decor, said seating will include: cafe benches, tables and chairs, high-top tables, lounge chairs, sofas and booths with curtains where members may make a private phone call or maybe even meditate.
“There’s lots of versatility,” she said. “So if people need to move their bodies around, it tends to work really well.”
The Meyers will also work out of a 9 by 5 square-feet office, and members of Nest:Space may reserve a conference room equipped with table, chairs, television screen and coffee cart. A copier and projector also will be available.
A large coffee bar and kitchen will be equipped with roasters, microwaves, a refrigerator, dishwasher, reusable cutlery and dishes, reverse osmosis water and a sink. Local tea and roasted coffees are available at no extra charge.
Each micro-office will be set up with a table, chair and filing cabinets.
The offices and the conference room will be secured with smart-locks. People may reserve and pay for an office space with an app. Then the smart-lock will allow them to be the only people to have access to their offices.
Members may also reserve and schedule meeting times in the conference room at no extra cost, Chais said.
Each micro-office costs $399 per month. For people not seeking an office, but wanting to take advantage of the remainder of the amenities, Chais said the basic or “hot desk” price is $299 a month. People may become a “hot desk” member for a day or week at $20 and $99, respectively. The facility is available 24 hours a day during a person’s membership period.
Chais said the price is a quarter of the cost of renting a traditional office space.
“You’re basically renting an open area that you’re paying utilities on and you’re doing all the upkeep and everything yourself,” Chais said of a traditional office.
“This is the functional area for you and then all the other stuff is handled by us,” he added about the co-working space, which includes free WiFi.
Members who commit to a year’s worth of rent get extra perks, the Meyers said, such as 10 percent off prices at participating downtown businesses.
The Meyers’ believe the co-working area will work well for remote workers and small business owners such as architects, lawyers, interior designers and possibly multi-level marketers who want to work in environment that inspires them.
“And you know, you get to rub shoulders with people who are in your industry, which is very helpful,” Shawna said. “So if you’re a programmer and there’s a graphic designer working here, you guys can collaborate.”
When the project is complete, community members may also rent the first-floor for events. Shawna said that a stage will be set up in the open-floor plan to accommodate the affairs.
But the Meyers’ won’t schedule the venue at the expense of their members.
“That is going to be a blocked out set time period that is going to be available for rent. Our members they’re priority,” Chais said.
Chais and Shawna anticipate that their office spaces and commons area will be in hot demand. So they are currently designing offices and a joint work area in the basement of the building, also 3,000 square feet. Chais said that area should be renovated and open for business in six months.
“In a lot of ways this is a ‘If you build it, they will come’ scenario,” Chais said.
To reserve an office or become a member of Nest:Space, visit nestwork.net/.