By Shelley Widhalm | Photos by Nathan Venzara
Heather Marvin of Boulder County tired of working at home, but she couldn’t find a commercial kitchen-coworking combo, so she created her own.
Marvin also likes history and when the former Times newspaper building came up for sale in Longmont, she found the perfect place for The Times Collaborative.
“It provides a space where people can be inspired by their surroundings, both in coworking with other members and also by the aesthetics,” said Marvin, founder and owner of The Times Collaborative.
Marvin worked in consumer package goods for 10 years and in 2017 went on her own as a business consultant. She missed the interaction of being in an office, plus wanted to avoid the distractions of home. She also wanted to access a commercial kitchen to make samples, present products and meet with clients.
The former two-story Times building, which had been converted into retail and residential space, fit her needs.
“I was looking to create a space that wasn’t the typical drywall and cubicle office environment,” Marvin said. “I wanted to bring historical aspects of the building and thought that would be great to integrate into our branding as well.”
The Times building was built in the 1870s and was the home of the Times until 1931 when it merged with the Call to become Longmont Times-Call. Some of the paper crates with Times on them remained, and the Times sign is still outside the building. There’s also brick walls and tiles “reminiscent of the early 1900s vibe,” Marvin said.
Marvin structurally and mechanically renovated the Times into an office, conference and coworking space, opening The Times Collaborative in March 2021. The 6,500-square-foot building has 10 private offices, two conference rooms, a commercial kitchen that acts as a commissary, nine dedicated desks and up to 40 drop-in coworking desks. Those desks can be rented month-to-month or on a daily basis.
“It doesn’t require a membership to drop in,” Marvin said.
The first floor is an open room that can become a private and public event venue on nights and weekends with space for up to 85 people. The Times Collaborative has a liquor license and hosts public events like concerts, shows and seated dinners—other organizations can also rent the space for events.
One of The Times Collaborative’s events is the Happy Times & Co. happy hour the second Friday of the month, which is a public event with rotating food and drink specials and a deejay—currently Rising Tiger Co. provides the catering and DJ Drake Entertainment, the music.
“We get to play with different popup menu and drink specials to give Longmont a reason to see what we’re doing,” Marvin said.
Five chefs, including Rising Tiger, are using the commercial kitchen, which is 300 square feet on the first floor with easy access for loading and unloading and direct sales to customers. The chefs use the kitchen as a commissary, producing products for farmers markets and popup events like farm-to-table, chef tastings and private caterings. The kitchen also can be rented for one-time use.
Besides working with food, members represent other industries like real estate, technology and nonprofits.
The members and drop-in workers have access to snacks and drinks, free Wifi and private call rooms, and members can participate in member events. An office rental includes a limited number of hours of conference room and event rentals, plus a parking pass.
Coworking is more flexible than a traditional office space rental, which can require a 3- to 5-year contract. Coworking became popular about 15 years ago, increasing in trendiness following the COVID-19 pandemic when remote work became more accessible. Workers, though, grew tired of working at home, the drain of being alone on a daily basis and interruptions of family life and pets.
At the same time, more coworking spaces started opening as several businesses began giving up their brick and mortar spaces and gave their employees stipends to seek additional space. Locally, coworkers and remote workers can find those spaces all over the Front Range, such as DeskChair in Loveland and several options in Boulder and the Denver area.
“People started to feel the need for community and connection with other individuals,” Marvin said. “Being able to physically and mentally shift out of that space into a work space is a great benefit. It allows you to move out of the brain space of being home to the time and commitment of work time.”
Plus coworkers from different industries talk and share ideas, Marvin said.
“It allows you to see trends outside of your space to see what might be coming down the pike in other industries or inform people of what you see in their industries,” Marvin said. “For me personally, I feel more invigorated around other people. I feel like I have a better mindset to complete tasks.”