Global travels have brought four friends together to take over the operations at the Bottoms Up Coffee Shop and coworking space at 1069 W. Broad St. in Franklinton.
Opened by sisters Victoria Calderon Nunes and Virginia Nunes Gutierrez in 2016, the pair sold the business earlier this year to Meghan and Josh Boone, Minji Kim, and Dylan Hoffman to focus more on the infant mortality initiatives that have always been engrained into the mission of the space. Under the new ownership, coffee shop operations will continue as normal with the coworking space getting a rebrand to become Cova Cowork.
It’s an impressive series of events that put the new owners in the heart of Columbus. The two couples – Josh & Megan and Minji & Dylan – met during 12-month travel program Remote Year. The year of globe trotting landed them in dozens of coworking spaces around the world.
Every single space was a unique experience, and despite the shared amenities of a traditional office, offered the opportunity to be more engaged. It wasn’t just a physical space, but a community.
“Office space doesn’t really have a mission of its own, but a coworking space has a mission,” Kim says.
With a first-hand look at what did and didn’t work, the foursome decided they wanted to create their own coworking community. They’d even drafted out the first ideation for a space before they got back from their year abroad. They just had to figure out where it would be located.
Kim and Hoffman call Seattle home while The Boones were based in Washington, D.C. before relocating to Columbus. The friends took their travels stateside and visited various cities, ultimately falling in love with Columbus to launch their coworking concept.
The city checks many boxes for their vision of Cova Cowork.
“We just felt like there was a good energy here and people were also very genuine about being willing to talk with us,” Megan says.
From a quantitative standpoint, Hoffman says they were looking for cities that were affordable with a lower cost to entry both in terms of renting a space and future relocation plans. Columbus also had a strong population of their target demographic: 25-45 year olds, along with a stable economy supported by Fortune companies.
A quick Google search put Bottoms Up on the group’s radar. During a visit to the city, they immersed themselves in the Bottoms Ip Coworking experience for a day. The group left with a connection to Nunes and Gutierrez and immediate attraction to Franklinton.
Initially the plan was to find a larger space in Franklinton, but when the sisters approached the group looking to sell the business, the stars had aligned.
Some things will stay the same and some will change with the new owners. Once the Cova team gets to know the operations of the coffee shop, they’ll turn their focus to the coworking and really look to build the office side of the space.
Some minor cosmetic updates are in the works, with the big changes coming in the form of programming. The Cova Cowork team looks to have more events that support personal and professional development. Or as Josh says, ways to integrate work and life instead of just balance it.
The team is also exploring other ways to set themselves apart. What are potential problems for members that they could help to solve, like providing childcare or daycare service. As Kim says, a member shouldn’t have to choose between being a productive worker and a parent.
Each of the four friends will play a unique role in the Cova Cowork space. Josh has made the leap to full-time, running day-to-day operations with the help of Megan who is balancing the new enterprise with a full-time job. Josh says once they get the swing of operations, they will hire baristas so he can work on the business, organizing programming and processes. Kim and Hoffman are remaining in Seattle for now with frequent trips to Columbus planned. Remotely, Hoffman will run the finances while Kim is in charge of design, both for this space and any future endeavors.
The group likens themselves to kids in a candy store when it comes to future plans. They are working on building controls and protocols to execute their ambitious vision of a network of spaces over the next five years.
Inside of Columbus, the Cova Cowork team is interested in connecting with other independent spaces to build awareness around coworking – to work together rather than compete. Outside of the city, the group plans to focus on growth in the Midwest region, meeting a growing need that hasn’t yet brought many of the large-scale coworking spaces inward from the coasts.
For more information, visit covacowork.com.