KEARNEY — A new space soon will be available in downtown Kearney for remote workers and small business owners who no longer want to work in isolation.
Kearney small business owners Chais and Shawna Meyer next week officially will welcome renters to the collaborative workspace, called Nest:Space, at 2224 Central Ave. in downtown Kearney.
Renters may access the coworking space 24/7, which includes free WiFi and a printer/copier and kitchen area with unlimited coffee and tea.
The Meyers had worked remotely when they previously were living abroad and while managing their other Kearney businesses, 24-Hour Tees; Nebraska Apparels; and the meal prep-service, Nest:Prep.
They said Nest:Space offers the opportunity for people from different industries to make connections.
“We want to not literally rub shoulders with people but do in the sense of expanding our minds toward business and entrepreneurship,” she said of working together in the coronavirus era.
So Shawna and Chais renovated the 3,000-square-foot first floor of the historic downtown building.
To maintain the historical integrity of the building, they kept the original wood floors, baseboards and window trim. They also installed original wood doors, which had been stored on the upper floor of the building.
Shawna purchased pendant school house lighting and added some mid-century fixtures as well to fit her style. Also fitting the schoolhouse look are old metal lockers that renters can use to store their items.
Throughout the space the Meyers painted the walls green and white.
In the front part of the building, renters may sit comfortably in green lounge chairs. Renters also may plug away on their laptops while sitting on stools at various bars, including a kitchen bar, or at tables.
The kitchen is equipped with a refrigerator, dishwasher, ice maker, microwave, coffee pots, utensils and tableware, and reverse osmosis water from a farmhouse sink.
Shawna said 90 percent of the mismatched seating, which also includes an old church pew, already were used. She had the pew, and legs of tables and chairs painted black. The tabletops are a honey wood color and some chairs were reupholstered by Shawna’s grandmother, Phyllis Murrish of Kearney, and mother, Lori Biediger of Florida, in a plush green fabric.
“They were pros. They spent dozens of hours,” Chais said.
In the back of the building sits a stage where the Meyers hope to rent out for speeches and other special events. The stage floor is made of reclaimed wood from the upper floor of the building, and the wood wall on the back of the stage is carved into hexagon-shaped scales.
The hexagon shape is in the Nest business logo, Chais said. So they carried that theme throughout the space. That pattern is in the base of the kitchen bar, on the wall of individual booths and in the fireplace in the front part of the building.
The Meyers also visually separated the space into different seating areas, one of which features a faux green grass wall. People also may go into booths with comfy pillows and closed off with curtains if they want to work in another setting.
“When you go into a space that is visually appealing with color, sound and smell all in positive ways, it really adds to the overall positive experience. So if you walk through here, every 20 feet you see a different texture, you see a different color pattern,” Chais said. “I think that’s part of what interests us. We’re going to be in here working every day. We don’t want to get bored by the same thing.”
People also may rent one of five 5-by-5-square-foot micro-office spaces in the building. Each office is equipped with a desk, chair and filing cabinet. The Myers will work out of a 9-by-5-square-foot office.
A conference room is available for meetings. It includes a big computer screen for presentations and movable table and chairs.
The building and offices are equipped with smart-locks.
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 in a February interview that the basic or “hot desk” price is $299 a month.
The Meyers began their demo in January. They had hoped to be complete with the project in April, but the coronavirus pandemic caused supply shortages and took their time away from the project.
Because a nanny could no longer watch their children at their home, Shawna said they had to take shifts working on the renovation.
“So we couldn’t be in here at the same time at any point working on it together hopefully getting it done quicker,” she said.
There was also a shortage of plastic glass, which the Meyers originally had planned to use for interior windows above the micro-offices and conference room. So instead of waiting any longer, they chose to go with tempered glass instead. It should be installed Tuesday, Chais said.
That is when Chais and Shawna expect renters to start using the space. Chais said people already have expressed interest in working there and already have paid their membership fee, but the Meyers haven’t nearly reached their goal of 60 registrations yet.
“That’s kind of a double-edge sword with this business is you have to build it first and then show them what it looks like,” he said.
The Meyers will show their new business tonight for a free photo shoot. They said people frequently ask if they can access the space for their Instagram photos.
“If you want to take photos in our space, this is the time to do it, because after this, it’s going to be a business zone,” he said.
Chais believes that the collaborative workspace will be ideal for more people now that they have experienced remote working during the pandemic.
“Now all of these people have been forced to work remote, they’ve had a little taste of what it’s like and it’s going to be hard to put that away,” he said.
“And so this is the future office of America, not just rural America.”
Original article can be found here.