Photo: Submitted by Lime Rock Photography
St. Peter: Creative Coop
When Rob Lawson decided to start his own business, he discovered that one of the trickiest parts was finding affordable office space.
With office rentals often running $1,000 or more, Lawson said he was lucky to stumble onto his current space thanks to an ad he found on Craigslist. The ad explained that one company, Envision Design That Works, Inc., was looking for a sublease to share its office space, located in a loft at the top of the Schaefer building in St. Peter. The owner was willing to split the monthly rent between the two of them.
“I took a look at the place and said it was great,” Lawson said.
He moved into the building in April 2011, joining fellow businessman Doug Kvidera, who’s a software developer. They were shortly joined by Michael Schwertfeger, who owns Lime Rock Photography, and the four businesses decided to form a co-op to offer other business owners cheap, appealing work space.
“There are a lot of businesses like us that could never afford a retail location with a long-term lease,” Lawson explained. “But as a cooperative with likeminded individuals, they can.”
The office rent, which includes all utilities, is $1,000 a month, split across all members. Since Envision has moved out, the three business owners are paying about $330 each right now. If another member joined, the rent would drop to $250 each. Lawson said the space can fit one or two more businesses.
Rent includes access to a conference room as well as built-in wooden cubicles. All members participate and vote in the co-op’s meetings.
“We’re just a bunch of guys that want a place to work comfortably and share ideas,” he said. “We don’t make a profit from it. We’re just trying to help each other out, and have a place where people can enjoy working.”
Address: 322 South Minnesota Avenue