The future home of parent-kiddo coworking space The Hive came about from the outside-the-box thinking that’s often intuitive to entrepreneurs. Founder of The Hive, Val Geisler shared earlier this year that finding space for a business is no easy feat. But, she has managed to land an essentially move-in ready space where one of the biggest things on the to-do list is upgrading the WiFi.
Requiring a unique list of attributes – separate space for adults and kids, access to the outside for playtime, kitchen facilities, etc. – Geisler started thinking about what kinds of facilities would already have that sort of set up to fit her bootstrapped budget. Preschools and daycares were the answer. And where are most of those types of facilities in Columbus? Churches.
Geisler had driven past St Luke’s United Methodist Church, 1150 W. Fifth Ave., often and rarely saw anyone on the church’s playground. Looking at the website and discovering that they were without a preschool, she reached out via email introducing the concept and asking for a meeting.
“They wrote back almost immediately and said, ‘Yes!'” Geisler says.
The Hive and the church were able to form a mutually beneficial partnership. The church’s space that previously sat unused during the day found a purpose, and a revenue stream, while the set up checked off The Hive’s list of amenities, without having to build.
“To get the amenities that we have here and the space that we have here would have easily meant raising money from the beginning,” Geisler says.
To her, there’s something special about bootstrapping, “Especially because it’s designed for freelancers and families – those are people who bootstrap everything,” she says.
The Hive will begin pop-ups over the summer, every Thursday from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. during June, July and August to introduce potential members to the space. In the fall, The Hive will open for its regular hours, Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Geisler is looking to The Hive’s membership to round out some of those final details and amenities available in the space. There will be coffee, snacks and regular meal delivery service from Food By Bel. She is also exploring having a few meals always stocked in the fridge.
“It’s really up to membership, what do they need and how can we make that happen for them,” Geisler says. “The goal is to make life easier.”
The Hive will partner with another local entrepreneur, Taylor Cobb of Kiddo & Co. to staff the childcare side with their experienced professionals.
“It will all depend on how many families we have how many staff we have,” Geisler says.
Many people have asked if they can leave their child at The Hive while they take an off-site meeting, and the answer is ‘no.’ The Hive would need different licensing. Currently, the facility does not have to be licensed as a daycare because the parents and the children are in the same building. If a parent needs to head off-site, “You can hire one of Taylor’s babysitters to watch the kids at your house,” Geisler says. Members are also welcome to take meetings at the space.
The Hive will also bring the only coworking to a barren landscape in the Grandview area. Geisler sees their location as valuable to more than just freelancers as well. With close proximity to several other local small business and major institutions like OSU and Nationwide, The Hive can offer those operations a unique opportunity.
“I would love to see The Hive be a place where we can support that postpartum period for moms and dads who go back to work,” Geisler says. For businesses, “It’s a lot cheaper to keep someone on after a maternity leave or paternity leave than to hire somebody new.”
The Hive could offer a transitional space after leave, but before a child might be ready for a more traditional off-site daycare setting. Geisler says she is starting to reach out to businesses in the area to explore that partnership.
Interest in The Hive has remained strong as the coworking space nears its fall opening.
“I get messages every day of people who are like, ‘This is what I’ve been looking for,'” Geisler says.
And, of course, messages that they love the concept but wish it was their neighborhood.
“That’s the challenge of a physical location business, a brick and mortar – location is everything,” Geisler says.
Long-term there could be many locations of The Hive. Whether it’s finding another move-in ready space, our building out a raw space, “The options are endless for what it could become,” Geisler says.
The Metropreneur will be following along as The Hive develops from concept to open business. We’ll check back in with Geisler as she finds and creates her space and cover what The Hive has to offer as doors open.
Follow along at thehivecolumbus.com.