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Entrepreneurs, small businesses, and those who have just had it with working from home now have yet another option for coworking in Oklahoma City.

Friday, Workflow started its soft opening that will last through February and is on the way to creating their own unique community within a specially-designed coworking space focused on the health of the small business developers and entrepreneurs.

The Commons area of Workflow is presented for the first time to visitors. (Brett Dickerson/Okla City Free Press)

Where Workflow is the newest concept, StarSpace46 less than ten blocks away is the outcome of years of experiences going back to 2007 and OKC Coco, Oklahoma City’s first purpose-built coworking space with a focus on the tech entrepreneur.

Each has a concept of the owners being fully engaged with those who pay to be a part of the community. There are no absentee landlords in these coworking spaces.

New entry

Workflow, the creation of partners Chelsea Banks and Ginger Casper, invited the community in Friday even though contractors were still finishing up some fine points throughout the building.

Their co-working offering at N.W. 6th and Classen takes the concept in a unique direction being focused on providing a healthy working environment for the entrepreneur and small company.

Banks and Casper have developed a unique and flexible work environment. It was once a tire and auto shop and transformed it into a two-story coworking site. It offers several commons areas for general memberships and then differing sizes and configurations of offices for the upper tiers of membership.

Workflow founder partners Chelsea Banks (L) and Ginger Casper will be actively involved in running their new creation. (Brett Dickerson/Okla City Free Press)

The partners are determined to provide a healthy space that promotes wellness through activities like yoga and a non-toxic working environment.

But for Casper, this professional development comes from her personal experience.

“I am a practicing attorney and been in practice for many years,” she said. “In 2016 I was injured and I had to take time away from my law practice to recover from that.”

“In the process of healing I learned a great deal about environmental health and wellness which is a bit of a mystery.”

Casper’s first build was to retrofit her own home for “environmental health and wellness.”

She and Banks have developed a concept called the “unburden standard” that strives to eliminate the usual construction toxins from building materials and paints and providing the best air filtration systems for the space.

Activities intended to promote health and balance for people during the workday will be a part of the membership package. A corner of the main commons on the first floor has a floor prepared for yoga and other activities.

“We are definitely looking for people who are interested in applying these aspects to their life, both in their workspace and outside of their workspace,” said Banks. “And we also want to create a community that introduces people to make these connections with other people that are like-minded….”

StarSpace46 — third iteration since 2007

StarSpace46, at W. Sheridan Avenue and S. Klein, is the latest iteration of a concept of supporting tech entrepreneurs with a community housed in a shared space that has dated back to 2007.

Tommy Yi has been the constant in an ever-changing group of partners who have worked hard to provide a community and friendly working spaces for Oklahoma City’s tech community since 2007.

Tommy Yi has promoted the strengths of coworking spaces to Oklahoma City since 2007. (Brett Dickerson/Okla City Free Press)

That’s when they started OKC Coco, the city’s first real coworking space. Then, development of their next coworking space, The 404 in Film Row, helped the group to further refine their ideas about what tech start-ups needed.

During their time in The 404, they also shed their responsibilities for organizing and hosting tech meetups, a strong feature of OKCCoco that allowed the tech community to share ideas and concepts.

“The truth of the matter is that we were just worn out,” Yi told us in a recent interview.

So they helped found Techlahoma, a non-profit specifically purposed with organizing the shared learning events.

The back room of The 404 became the physical venue for Techlahoma meetups focused on different types of code development.

That’s when Yi and his partners started working on a larger-scale coworking site that could accommodate a wide range of needs for the solo entrepreneur and growing companies in the tech sector.

The latest iteration is StarSpace46, a two-story concrete tilt-up building that was used for light industrial purposes before Yi and his partners took it over.

The community kitchen at StarSpace46. (Brett Dickerson/Okla City Free Press)

They cut windows in it, developed the first floor, then the second.

The Techlahoma Foundation covered the costs of converting two former garage bays on the north side of the building into a space for Techlahoma meet-ups.

Just as in the past, Yi is looking on the horizon at meeting new needs. He told us they are exploring expanding their operation to other sites around the metro.

More than office space

Both Workflow and StarSpace46 leaders consider community to be a key goal of their respective enterprises rather than just being landlords or hoteliers.

According to all three founders of their coworking spaces, what’s unique is the foundation of belonging to a group of people who share resources and support either formally or informally.

“So I think at the end of it all, its membership-based,” Banks said about Workflow. “And I think that’s one of the big key pieces to our model that makes it very different than just renting from a landlord and then typical office space.”

Yi’s concept has gone in the same direction over the years.

“We want our members at StarSpace to actually feel like they’re here and can have ownership in it,” said Yi.

For more information

Workflow website – https://workflowokc.com/

StarSpace46 website – https://www.starspace46.com/

Note: StarSpace46 and Workflow are general sponsors of Free Press but did not sponsor or have editorial control over this report. Free Press does not publish sponsored content.

Last Updated February 21, 2020, 12:12 PM by Brett Dickerson – Editor