There’s a lot of things Hopewell is not: a coworking company or small business accelerator. And there’s a lot of things it is: a space for professionals to work, a place for formal and informal convening, an environment where professionals of all industries and sizes can collide.
It’s a new category.
Hopewell’s partners, Brian Zuercher, Emily Francis and Ira Sharfin, didn’t necessarily set out to start a space.
“Even today the space is a part of sort of a bigger vision of something we’re going after,” Zuercher says.
The space is a reaction to the evolving nature of the way people work. After spending two years researching the pressure points of a changing workplace, one theme became very apparent.
“What we found was that we heard the word isolation a lot,” Zuercher says.
They found that many individuals were struggling to stay relevant as a professional, struggling to stay connected to other people and frequently contemplating the purpose of their work. It was a feeling unanimous from entrepreneurs to corporate employees of all ages.
Hopewell dives deep, looking at the mind/body/spirit of existence and focusing in on the mind. If networking or a formal education aren’t suitable for a given individual, there aren’t a lot of other options to develop the professional mind.
“There’s not a category that has ever been created that helps people solve this,” Zuercher says.
Hopewell wants to craft experiences and situations that help a wide variety of professionals stay relevant, engaged and connected. Their motto is “to end isolation through shared experiences.”
“Hopewell wants to serve as the company, the thought leadership piece of the future of work,” Zuercher says.
The physical space at 130 E. Chestnut St. Downtown operates on a membership-based system with options accommodating individuals, small companies and large corporations. Members can drop into work, have a meeting, host a presentation or hold an event. There are conference and training rooms to rent out, but Hopewell doesn’t consider itself a venue in the traditional sense. Zuercher likens it to a community rec center for the professional community.
Events will be abundant at Hopewell – some open to the public, others just for members, and more hosted by third parties. The space also boasts a Brioso Coffee bar where members and non-members alike can come to get their coffee fix.
Hopewell will take their mindset outside of their physical space as well. A team of experts and consultants is ready to mobilize and coach large companies on topics like changing their culture along with their physical work environments.
Being a new category Zuercher says a lot of people are trying to orient themselves to the concept, but if they come to the space, “You connect the dots pretty easily.”
The team also felt Columbus was the ideal location to test such a concept given the dynamics of the entrepreneurial community and a collaborative synergy between businesses large and small. And much like Central Ohio serves as the test market for retail and food, “We have a good palate to test whether this would be applicable in other communities,” Zuercher says.
All goes well and the concept could expand within Columbus as well as nearby cities like Indianapolis, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati and Cleveland.
For more information, visit hopewell.works.
Additional reading: learn more about Continental Office’s space within Hopewell.
All photos by Susan Post.