Forbes has a great article about how traditional (and non-traditional!) retail brands are shutting their storefronts and utilising coworking spaces as a way to draw in clients and customers.

By leasing beautifully fitted out private offices within coworking spaces, they not only get the benefits of being surrounded by others creatives, startups, and entrepreneurs, but they get a private office in which to bring in clients – the office, in essence, doubles as a showroom.

Carpenter John McDonald used to have a stunning storefront in Burbank where he displayed custom cabinetry made by his company Semihandmade. Six or seven times a year he traveled around the country to industry trade shows that cost him up to $25,000 a pop. The storefront is shuttered, and he no longer spends so many weekends at trade shows. He replaced them with spaces at four different coworking spaces.

“It just makes sense for us to get out of a brickand-mortar business,” says McDonald. “We needed a place for people to come see our products, and one storefront wasn’t the best way to do that.”

The idea of inviting your customers into a coworking space is nothing new. After all, conference rooms where you can hold meetings are usually one of the main selling points since the first real coworking space opened in 1999. But bringing them past the common areas to the private offices is more and more common. Take Donovan England, a menswear design in Dallas. For six years he worked from home, marketing his company via a very popular Instagram following featuring shots of him in his custom-made suits. Now he’s taking his first office space at a coworking space at WeWork Uptown. Why the change? He says that other young entrepreneurs are his ideal customers. And because England says he doesn’t do anything the usual way, his office is designed to be more of a showroom for his clothing line. Look for leather furnishing and a gleaming bar cart with top-shelf scotch and bourbon………..

“It’s a logical next step,” says McDonald. “Pairing up with likeminded companies means we can share a bigger space, cut the overhead, and generate more traffic under one roof.”

Manage a retail brand? Perhaps this is an idea for you as well!  Check out 99spaces.co for many options!

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