Popular during pandemic, COhatch opens newest coworking location at Easton Gateway
Before the pandemic, Pickerington residents Michael and Meghan Friddle were running their construction-scheduling and cost-engineering business out of their basement.
The fledgling business, Project X, started in 2019 and has nine employees, the couple said.
But in the wake of the COVID-19 coronavirus, the two co-owners found that working remotely had challenges, both with a lack of communication and human interaction, Michael Friddle said.
“A Zoom happy hour can only take you so far,” he said.
As the business took on more clients, the need increased for more staff members, and they plan to hire five to 10 employees, Michael Friddle said.
The couple considered purchasing office space, but they realized that the risks of a start-up coupled with the pandemic made purchasing a space dangerous, he said.
But COhatch, the Worthington-based company that rents coworking, events and office space to businesses and individuals throughout central Ohio, offered an affordable price, a great location and an environment that fits the culture that Project X wants for its employees, Michael Friddle said.
Project X has 16 spaces in the newest COhatch location in Easton Gateway, he said, and the membership also gives them the opportunity for a Cincinnati employee to work at COhatch’s location near there.
“We were looking for kind of a springboard to the next level,” he said.
COhatch opened the Easton Gateway facility, named the Square, on Sept. 17 at 4182 Worth Ave. Space No. I-115, Columbus.
The business also has locations in Columbus at Polaris Fashion Place, Delaware, Springfield, Upper Arlington and Worthington, said COhatch founder Matt Davis.
Locations at 56 N. High St. In Dublin and on the Ohio State University campus across from the Gateway Film Center are planned to open in March, he said.
The Easton location, right off Interstate 270, has ample parking and nearby restaurants and retail, Davis said.
“It’s just a great location from a lifestyle standpoint,” he said.
Davis said COhatch was able to repurpose the former Easton retail location of Charming Charlie. The space was 5,000 square feet, and a second floor was added for another 3,500 square feet, Davis said.
The renovated space features a dedicated podcast room and a 2-story rock-climbing wall. Of the 23 office spaces, 19 have been rented, he said.
Davis said because of the pandemic, larger companies have been renting spots in COhatch locations as they shed office space. The goal for these companies, he said, is to move into more of a hybrid model, giving employees the opportunity to work from home and COhatch offices.
Companies have been concerned about maintaining their culture during the pandemic, and continuing mentoring and leadership development, Davis said.
They also know that not everyone can work from home, he said. The COhatch space also allows employees to meet for meetings with staff members or clients, he said.
COhatch spokeswoman Janet Brumfield said the business has a list of procedures in place to make sure everyone is safe and comfortable based on guidelines issued by Ohio leaders and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
For example, members are required to wear masks in common areas, and they are asked to takes their temperature upon arrival at the facility, Brumfield said.
Social distancing also is a requirement, she said.
For more information about COhatch and the Square, go to cohatch.com/locations/oh-easton-the-square.