August 20, 2021 - Originally posted by arkansasbusiness.com
A coworking space called The Studio Downtown recently expanded to take over the building at 1100 Oak St. in Conway that formerly housed EM Jeans.
Co-founder Jessica Crum told Arkansas Business that she and childhood friend Kate Carnahan leased 2,200 SF in the building at the downtown corner Oak and Chestnut street three years ago.
Then the pandemic accelerated a trend toward working remotely, and demand for Crum and Carnahan’s space grew. They decided to lease 10,000 SF instead and opened it a few weeks ago.
They hosted a preview party Thursday to celebrate the opening and have scheduled another event in October, a revived art walk.
“There's just so much cool stuff happening here, and we hope that it will ignite collaboration and creativity in the heart of downtown,” Crum said about the project.
She owns marketing agency Silverlake Design Studio; its growth helped birth The Studio Downtown.
“We were just outgrowing our little shoebox office in downtown Conway, and so my project manager [Carnahan] and I talked about what would it look like to open a coworking space like they have in Los Angeles, New York,” Crum said. “She and I both moved back here from Los Angeles. And so we just always wanted to bring the culture to Conway.”
Now the marketing agency is also located at The Studio Downtown, which grew organically until COVID hit.
“We experienced exponential growth in COVID. It's crazy to say, but people, of course, are working more from home and corporations are more open to remote working,” Crum said.
Monthly memberships are $185 for a first come, first served spot on the first floor, which has an open design. Crum and Carnahan call that part of the building the “Nomad Bay.”
The Studio Downtown also offers 10 dedicated desks upstairs, for $300 per month, and six private offices for $500-$600 per month.
Crum said the coworking space has capacity for 70 members, and now has between 40 and 50, including the Creative Institute of Central Arkansas and Young Designers Academy, a sewing school.
Amenities for members include equipped photography and podcasting studios, six quiet rooms, two conference rooms for 8-12 people, a classroom for 30, free coffee and snacks, free Wi-Fi, free printing, and secure entry systems. The studios, conference room and classroom are also available for rent to nonmembers.
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