Imagine a work space where you have the freedom to work at a traditional desk space, then move to a cafe bar table with natural light overlooking East Fifth Street, or to a loft-style perch overlooking the entire room.
You have unlimited coffee, access to a photo studio, “phone booths” for conference or private calls, and 2 p.m. dance parties to blow off steam. The restaurants of the Oregon District are just down the street. But the best part is, you’re working next to entrepreneurs and experts from a variety of industries who just might become collaborators in any project you could think of.
This is the Nucleus, the recently opened co-work space at 411 E. Fifth St. where a membership provides you with an alternate work space; one that foregoes the cubicles and white walls for a vivid, dynamic environment ideal for creatives.
Currently, the Nucleus holds the offices to several businesses: the four founders run the two “anchor” businesses of the video marketing firm Indigo Life Media and CreativeFuse initiative, a nonprofit which offers advertising and design services. Add in several more businesses who either have an actual office in the space, or whose employees want to work in an environment that’s more inspiring. Then add some independent community members who just take an individual membership to have a great place to work, with speedy Wi-Fi and a built in community who wants the same workflow as they do, and the first branches of the Nucleus family sprouted.
“People are coming from all over for the energy and the environment” said Casey Telger, one of CFi’s founders and a Nucleus partner. And the cumulative brainpower of the members are impressive: The current members hold expertise in a variety of different sectors, from design, to IT, to advertising, to branding, to realty, to massage therapy. So no matter where you might be stumped in your project or your entrepreneurial endeavor, there should be someone who can give you pointers.
The four founders of the Nucleus say that the space came together through pure serendipity: Indigo Life Media co-owners Andrew and Lauren White were looking to create a co-work space and were already seriously considering a space when they were introduced to the CreativeFuse initiative founders through mutual friends.
Andy Baker, co-founder of CFi, a nonprofit which offers advertising and design services, said that he and fellow co-founder Telger had been moving toward the co-work space idea for about three years, but nothing had really panned out for them yet. They didn’t even know that the Whites were thinking right along the same lines as they were.
“Then we got together on a whim for coffee at Ghostlight, and realized it was like we were talking to a mirror,” Lauren White said.
After a few more meetings, they decided to move full steam ahead with the Nucleus, and after recruiting local businesses and connections to sign on and help with major development work — IT, design, furniture, branding — a few short months after signing their lease on East Fifth Street, they opened their doors.
And while they weren’t necessarily targeting the Oregon District for their space, fates worked in their favor and they’re loving being in the busy district, on “the pulse of the city,” as Andrew White put it.
“We weren’t even supposed to find this space,” Andy Baker said. “We found it on Craig’s List three days before we signed the lease.”
All of the founders grew up in southern Ohio — all but Telger are from the Miami Valley, and he grew up in Fairfield — and being part of the revitalization of Dayton was always at the forefront of their minds as they created their businesses and moved toward the co-share space concept.
“We always had a mission at IndigoLife Media of supporting Dayton and helping it rebuild, because there were some tough times there for a while,” Andy White said.
“There weren’t a lot of full-time jobs here, and people were scooting to Columbus or Cincinnati or Chicago,” Baker said. “So it was like, man, if we could just create something, a kind of shift that made people feel like they could stay here, at least for a little bit, or if they want to start their own company.”
And the Nucleus isn’t done yet. Coming up in the wings are more improvements and tools for the 1,200 square-foot photo studio, a music recording studio — both of which can be leased to the public, membership not required — and, if they need it, expansion into other neighborhoods or cities. And they’re taking a lot of cues from their members about what other resources they might be able to provide, whether it’s teleconference ability or collaborating with Proto BuildBar for 3-D printing, or working with fellow nonprofits or community developers to work on an initiative.
“We want to hear from other initiatives and the community about what we can do to help,” Lauren White said.
But the core base will stay in downtown Dayton, where they’ve always wanted to build this kind of community.
“I think Dayton pretty much asked for this, and we happened to be in the right place at the right time,” Telger said.