Fortville Business Center Debuts New Co-Working Space
Photographer / Belinda Russell
The Fortville Business Center’s new co-working space provides a professional office setting as well as the flexibility needed for those who wish to avoid the expenses of leasing or purchasing office space while freelancing or getting a fledgling business off the ground.
“If you can get things done at Starbucks or Panera, you could probably get 10 times more done in a co-working space,” says Rockford Stites, a Selma, Indiana, native who handles day-to-day operations at the Fortville Business Center with his wife Bonny, a seventh grade math teacher at Mt. Vernon Middle School.
“It’s a professional environment no matter what kind of business you’re in, and it can help you keep focused and cut down on distractions so you’ll feel better about the work you’re doing,” Stites adds.
For $95 per month or $950 for the year, members get 24/7 pin-code access to the co-working space, which includes wifi, a coffee bar, document shredding, onsite notary services and, perhaps most importantly, a quiet place to focus and get some work done.
Stites says the co-working space concept is an outgrowth of his and Bonny’s larger vision of providing a much-needed office and commercial hub for local residents and businesses.
“What our focus was when we first took over the building was that there are all kinds of great retail and restaurants doing a great job on Main Street, and we wanted to provide a more traditional commercial services anchor to the business owners and residents of the town,” says Stites, who works as regional vice president and an investment advisor representative with Primerica. “We tried to think of what we could do to attract more commercial businesses to town.”
The couple began brainstorming last year for ideas on how to make use of the approximately 7,000-square-foot business center’s second floor, in which Stites’ own office is also located. Initially uncertain about co-working spaces, they soon found the concept has been catching on locally in recent years.
“I had heard of co-working spaces but had never been to one,” Stites says. “In the spring of 2018, we heard about Launch Fishers and were blown away by it. We thought that that kind of concept made sense for the open space upstairs in the Business Center. We knew we could have a dozen or so folks in there without being crowded.”
Currently, the Fortville Business Center co-working space includes three private rooms, and Stites says a few minor renovations will be undertaken in the near future to meet various professional needs for members.
“We’re going to put some semi-private workstations in one of the private areas and that way there will be a kitchen and dining area, a conference room with a table, a head-down workspace area and then another small-team lounge,” he says, adding that bike racks and additional parking are also in the works. “We’re also going to make the kitchen and dining area into a convertible space with a projector and screen for presentations, client appreciation dinners and other functions.”
First-floor tenants have free access to the co-working space, and members and tenants alike can reserve the space for nights and weekends on a first-come, first-served basis for private events.
Stites says the co-working space is much more than just a shared office environment — there are also networking benefits not always found while working at a coffee shop or library.
“If you’re a member of the Business Center as either a tenant or a co-working space member, there’s not only the aspect of networking with each other but also increasing the circle of businesses that you know so someone there could refer you to someone else that can take your business to the next level,” Stites says.
The Fortville Business Center is located at 412 South Maple Street. Call 317-660-5080 or visit fortvillebusiness.com for more information.