When Workshop Co. closed up shop on June 1 after four years in the Short North, a number of small businesses were potentially left scrambling for space. Instead, in a feat of necessity is the mother of invention, two Workshopers teamed up to open The Perch, a 2200 square-foot shared office space located at 17 Brickel St. in the Short North.
Nils Root and Bob Rafferty, the entrepreneurs and founders of the space, had about a month to get everything together after Workshop Co. Owner Brady Konya announced the space would be closing. Konya closed Workshop Co. in order to focus on his other venture – Middle West Spirits.
“We had a great group of people working in that space and he [Konya] decided to focus his efforts on his primary business and announced that Workshop would be closing on June 1, so Nils and I said, ‘Hey we don’t really want to leave the neighborhood, there’s not another shared office space in the Short North, so let’s do it’,” Rafferty says.
The duo were adamant about staying in Short North, and only looked at properties in the area.
“Bob and I -and also our members- appreciate the ambiance that the Short North provides,” Root says.
The creative independence of the businesses and the atmosphere of the neighborhood drives the creativity of those that work at The Perch.
“You could create a similar space in a non-nondescript office building somewhere else, but the type of clients our people work with, they want to be down there; they want to be part of a lively neighborhood,” Root continues.
The space sits above Homage and is next-door neighbors with Fort. High, open ceilings show off the industrial duct work and wood beams that create the structure of the building. The space also features exposed brick and two sets of double doors that flood the office with natural light while providing a view of the bustle that is Short North.
“It’s got a ton of character,” Root says.
The space was originally a blacksmith shop, then John Reagan and his architecture firm renovated it for their offices, providing the perfect start for The Perch. Ample desk space was already set up and they were able to come in and make it their own from there.
The Perch has purchased almost everything else to fill the space locally, including a bar stocked with full collections of OYO and Watershed. Root and Rafferty recall frequenting Grandview Mercantile as things were coming together, often popping in other stores throughout Short North to pick up something that caught their eyes.
Opening less than two months ago on the day Workshop closed, The Perch will continue evolving its aesthetics and adding more unique items.
“One thing that I love about the space right now is that it’s somewhat of a blank canvas,” Root says.
The openness of the floor plan was also a big draw to the duo. Rafferty expresses the importance of the aesthetics one surrounds themselves with everyday, seeing their new space as fostering an environment that’s made for big thinking and making big ideas happen – which is exactly what they want to happen.
Different than a coworking space, The Perch is a shared office space. Members rent space in six-month increments.
The Perch currently has seven tenants – five of which relocated from Workshop Co.
“All of the one- and two-person teams joined us,” Root says. “There was a pretty natural dynamic that we had at the Workshop,” Rafferty adds.
But, the space is taking on a personality of its own. Two new teams have joined since the move, with spots for four more still available.
The Perch is home-base for a wide range of small businesses, including videographers (both Root and Rafferty), photographers, a project manager, web developer, marketing consultant and creative director. Collaboration among businesses is an important part of the space they have created.
“We’ve all worked together with each other in one way or another,” Root says.
Whether it’s offering advice or sharing clients, the owners see the ability to tap into each others’ knowledge and shared experiences as a huge advantage of working in s shared office. The people a business owner surrounds themselves with can have a big impact. Root and Rafferty plan to be intentional with how the space evolves to further foster collaboration.
Running a shared office space is a new entrepreneurial venture for both. Rafferty has been behind the lens at Knowble Media, a small creative service agency specializing in web production and multimedia development for higher-ed, for four years. Root has been filming the stories of Columbus for two years at Bookbag Video.
For more information, visit theperchshortnorth.com.
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