May 9, 2016
OSWEGO, N.Y. – Lighthouse Coworks is nearing the vision of creating their ideal coworking community, and after a year is experiencing both growth and change.
Lighthouse Coworks celebrated its anniversary in April. This milestone comes at a time when the coworking industry is thriving.
A cowork is an office community of people who are either self-employed or work for a variety of employers. This creates an environment where knowledge, ideas, and space are shared for equal benefit.
In the last year, Lighthouse Coworks became the home of three businesses: Experience Oswego, PC Masters Tech Repair, and Prista Technologies. In addition, currently two desks have been rented out and two people pay $100 each month to drop in. Over the last year, several people have rented out desks and paid the monthly or daily rates.
Ellen Clark, managing partner and co-owner for Lighthouse Coworks, discussed some of the changes that the cowork has seen in the last year.
“We’ve gotten closer and closer to the vision of creating a community,” Clark said. “So we’re excited about that. Things didn’t really go in the direction we were thinking it would; we thought we would get more people as drop-ins, which many coworks do, whereas we got more people for offices than we expected.”
From co-owner Gary Ritzenthaler’s perspective, the first year saw a lot of growth and ideas being built at Lighthouse Coworks, and people falling in love with the idea of coworking.
“The first year was really about educating people,” Ritzenthaler said. “Having people understand what it is, and that it [coworking] is a thing that’s useful.”
Ritzenthaler has been with the cowork since it opened but is getting ready to leave the business for an opportunity in Florida.
Ritzenthaler said that he has been the one from the beginning to say and really believe ‘this could work,’ but despite his departure from it, he definitely still thinks the cowork has a future, with Clark in control.
Other people think that it could work too. One of the businesses occupying an office at Lighthouse Coworks is PC Masters Tech Repair. They used to be located on the lower level of Canal Commons, with no access to signage or windows. The new location has caused an increase in satisfaction, and they have made Lighthouse Coworks their home.
“The building location has helped visibility of my company compared to where I was before,” said owner Timothy Bonner.
Lighthouse Coworks creates an atmosphere for businesses that is not standard. It’s not just a dry, boring shop. It’s a comforting, relaxing, and homey environment, Bonner said.
The trend of coworking is growth, in both the industry as a whole, as well as in the individual businesses within the industry. Making the homey environments a little bigger to allow room for more businesses goes along with that. Clark is looking into getting Lighthouse Coworks to full capacity.
“There’s the possibility of expansion, which is exciting,” Clark said.
Expansion fits the pattern of coworking, which is growing fast across the globe.
Deskmag’s “2016 Coworking Forecast” is based on the Global Coworking Survey. It showed an overall positive outlook for coworking, including a rise from 510,000 to 735,000 members worldwide from last year to this year.
In addition to an overall positive impression, expansion in the coworking world is experiencing a rise in numbers. According to the survey, from 2014 to 2016 there was a 12 percent increase in the number of profitable spaces that plan to expand. In addition, a little more than one in two owners of coworks who have yet to profit or are unprofitable are still planning to expand their spaces.
The future of coworking is bright and booming, and Lighthouse Coworks is moving forward too.