zWORKS coworking space to open its doors in April
By Heather Lusk
After several months of searching the for an ideal spot in the Village, the coworking office concept zWORKS is making final preparations to open on Cedar Street in mid to late April in a building that originally housed the town’s firehouse.
The space has required minimal remodeling to create the work environment sought by Dan Moyers, zWORKS’ chairman and executive director.
“The way it’s naturally laid out appeals to the different work spaces,” Moyers said. The concept is designed to include several zones that are conducive to different kinds of work.
Dawn Ter Horst, senior interior designer and business development for David Rausch Studio, designed the interior after clarifying the vision with Moyers and other stakeholders.
With a collaborative area in the front, private desks available on both a reserved and first-come basis, a cafe and a conference room, Ter Horst has created a space that is designed to appeal to a variety of work styles and purposes.
“We’re using everything as is, like the bar that’s going to be the cafe meeting space,” she said. Elements such as solid wood built-in cabinets and shelves used by the previous tenant, Zionsville Lighting Center, are being repurposed as desks. Tiles will be removed from the drop ceiling light fixtures to create an industrial feeling.
“To see (Dan’s) vision come to life is really cool,” Ter Horst said. “It’s so neat to have something this innovative in Zionsville. It speaks to where we’re going.”
A patio in the back will provide what Moyers believes may be one of the first outdoor work areas in a local coworking space. The patio is accessible through the fire station’s original garage, which will become the Start-ups Garage: a dedicated place for entrepreneurs to grow their businesses.
Moyers had been looking for space near the Village within walking distance of shops and restaurants downtown and the park for those who would like a break or some exercise.
“It’s a block from downtown, but not in the fray,” Moyers said.
Funding and founders
Funding for zWORKS comes from a maximum of 100 founding members initially who will have access to the workspace as well as $10,000 in appropriated funds from the town. This seed money was approved by the Zionsville Town Council in January and released in early February.
Members of council have walked through the building during the “Dusty Boots Tours” offered to the public every Sunday in March.
“They can see how their dollars are being utilized,” Moyers said.
The tours have been popular according to Moyers, with dozens of people getting an early look at zWORKS. So far, the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive.
“The thing I’m proud of the most is that people have said, ‘You’ve really put a lot of thought into this,’” Moyers said. “When you’re asking people to pay money, you’ve got to deliver a good experience at a good value.”
There will be regular programming from businesses such as Gutwein Law, KSM Consulting and Indiana Business Bank. These established companies will offer professional advice in areas such as copyright law, debt structure or other subjects where new businesses may need assistance.
Ken Minturn is one of 85 zWORKS founding members as of press time. He lives and works in Broad Ripple but was looking for an acceleration type of space for his start-up website.
“The connections I can make from [zWORKS] gives me a greater potential than the Broad Ripple coworking space,” he said.
Minturn is founder of the website Kenji, which is being developed to match businesses and individuals who have a specific need or issue with a professional that can address that need.
Being able to compare notes from his startup with a variety of business models is one factor that attracted Minturn to zWORKS.
“Just being around other people who are going through the same issues, they may be doing a totally different thing, but they’re still facing the same issues,” he said.
The ability to bounce ideas off of one another and keep each other motivated is also appealing. Minturn found that working from home wasn’t always the best way to stay motivated, and he anticipates that it will help being around others if he should hit a roadblock.
Josh Garrett, CSO and co-founder of MOBI, has become a founding member despite having an office nearby. He looks forward to collaborating with others whose professional backgrounds differ from his.
“You have a range of folks to look at different perspectives on problems you’re trying to solve and want feedback on,” he said.
“I will be utilizing a space like this for as long as I possibly can,” said Minturn. “The price of outside office space is not very favorable to a startup.”