New Coworking Space Opens in the Shops at Perry Crossing
Writer / Christy Heitger-Ewing
The concept of co-working incubators have been around for quite some time, but several years ago businessmen and women, along with community leaders in Hendricks County, began talking about how to create one locally. As these conversations began to grow, different people entered the picture, including John Anderson of Anderson Financial Planning, Andrew Clinger, Plainfield Town Manager, Lora Steele of the Hendricks County Economic Development Partnership (HCEDP) and Brandy Perrill of Hendricks College Network (HCN).
“We finally got to the point where we were ready to sit down and talk concepts,” says Steele, Program Implementation Director for the HCEDP. “What are the things we’ve been envisioning? Do they mesh? Where could we find a space? How do we get this started?”
After getting all their ducks in a row, nine members started Level Two — a co-working space in Plainfield that’s designed to serve the Hendricks County community by offering entrepreneurs, small business owners, commuters and those looking to establish business and community connections a place to work, complete with all business amenities. Their mission is to create an environment that spurs progress through a collaborative culture, educational opportunities and community support. Their vision is to nurture business development, motivate and encourage entrepreneurs and create a stronghold for economic growth.
The Town of Plainfield provided all initial funding to get Level Two up and running with the agreement that they split the funding over the course of three years.
“The anticipation is that by the third year when those funds taper off, we’ll be self-sufficient and sustainable,” says Steele, noting that the cool thing about the project is that everyone has their own take on who it will benefit.
“I think we’ll reach a diverse group of people — small businesses and entrepreneurs as well as being an incubator for start-ups who aren’t ready to make a full commitment to multiple employees or a full location of their own,” she says.
Level Two is a hub for people outside of the community to be able to gather, work and collaborate. Given the exploding development in Plainfield, out-of-town brokers and potential developers are in search of a place to meet for conversation — somewhere other than a Starbucks or hotel lobby.
“At the core of it all, we want this to be a place to foster community in Hendricks County and to make networking connections,” Steele adds.
To rent a space monthly costs $75 or annually for $750. They are also offering opportunities for corporate members who may have a business that has a solid location but perhaps is looking for a remote workspace for some of their employees. In addition, they have opportunities for foundational and corporate sponsors.
The 5,000 sq. ft. space includes boardrooms, private meeting rooms and conference rooms. They also offer high-speed Internet with secure walls as well as technology services through a local tech company called C2It. The space is fully furnished with standing desks, comfortable booths and couches and desks with partisans to offer privacy. In the future, to aid in privacy, they plan to install phone booths so that folks can have access to space to take calls. In addition, there is a kitchen with full-service snacks.
“We’re working on partnering with Milk & Honey, a local bakery, to supply treats,” Steele says. “We’ll have local roasters served in there, too.”
“The Cunningham Restaurant Group (CRG) Event Center is a huge venue, and area restaurants have smaller rentable spaces,” Steele says. “We hope to be that middle ground.”
Having access to restaurants, local shopping, the CRG Event Center and newly constructed apartments, people will be able to live, work and play literally within a mile of everything.
“I think the town really wants to focus on developing this area as more of a business professional kind of space,” Steele says. “This is the perfect timing as it fits really well with a lot of the development that’s going on in Plainfield.”
The nine-member board envisions offering regular training and workshop opportunities to the community as well as teaching and learning experiences for businesses and entrepreneurs.
“We have a chance to learn from others and use the strength of our community to help raise others up,” says board member Brandy Perrill, Executive Director for HCN.
Breaking the monotony can be helpful as well.
“Getting outside of a home office or regular office space provides fresh scenery and gets the creative juices flowing, not to mention it’s a great tool for community building,” Steele says. “This is a place to meet new people and find out what they’re up to, what businesses they’re involved in, what organizations they love.”
According to Steele, close to 90 percent of Hendricks County businesses employ 20 or fewer people.
“That tells you that we are a community that’s run by a lot of small to medium-sized businesses,” Steele says. “I think that’s why this is something that appeals to the majority of businesses in Hendricks County.”
And keep in mind that Level Two is a resource for anyone. Just because it’s located in Plainfield doesn’t mean that residents in neighboring towns can’t utilize it.
“Lots of commuters are hoofing it every day up and down 70 or 36 or 40 just to get to Indy or wherever,” Steele says. “We want this facility to be a service to all of Hendricks County.”
Perrill, who has extensive experience in nonprofit education, notes that every board member has their own area of expertise. Steele, a marketing expert, is in economic development. Their liaison Andrew Klinger is with the Town. Brad DuBois is with the Chamber and represents the business interests in the community. Heather Olinger, an attorney with expertise in the leasing area, has donated a lot of her time pro bono to Level Two. Lynn Driver is well versed in business planning & startups and evaluation of business goals. Jessica Elston wears many community hats as she comes from the Plainfield Public Library and is also involved with the school system. She has a good financial background. Brian Wheeler is an entrepreneur and wealth advisor. John Anderson of Anderson Financial Planning, an entrepreneur, rounds off the team.
“Level Two is a team effort. That’s why the Town Council invested their dollars in it,” Perrill says. “They saw that it’s not one or two people leading it but rather a joint venture.”
Level Two Coworking is located at 2498 Perry Crossing Way, Suite 240. For more information, visit leveltwocoworking.com.