“How are you?”
“How’s the rebrand coming along?”
“How does the new website site look? Can I see it?”
“Do you know anything about selling on Amazon?”
“How are your kids?”
“We’re going to go grab a beer, want to come?”
This is the evolution of conversations happening in The Food Loft over the last year. We’re a young coworking space for people working in food. Everyone here has a unique relationship with food – they sell it, write about it, cook it, help people navigate it and more. They work in all corners of the food industry, which made me a little nervous when I came on board to help build the community.
When I started at The Food Loft about a year ago I immediately started reading coworking blogs and going to coworking meetups. I met with every tenant to learn what they want out of the space and what their interests are. I gathered a ton of ideas with another list of backup plans. Then I started testing...
I tested three activities. All three are routine in our space now. All of the awkwardness and resistance to activities I was prepared for never came about. Everyone was excited to come together and meet each other – it felt like a dream. Now our lunches often go beyond an hour. Conversation varies from discussing new food business we’ve read about, to asking for feedback on new messaging, to local school recommendations. I’ve come prepared with topics to throw out there in case of awkward silences, and not once have I needed them.
The common thread of food throughout our space allows our community to build itself. You can go up to anyone here and have something to talk about, no matter what corner of the industry you’re in. This has fostered an environment where people collaborate, gather in the kitchen and talk, and look to their neighbors for feedback and advice. None of this took much effort on my part. If we give everyone an opportunity to take a break and come hang out with others, the rest happens organically. This is why we’re such big advocates for niche coworking. It’s fills a space with opportunities your members are looking for, and often ones you may never have thought of.
Learning the ins and outs of coworking over the last year has been a lot of fun – there is a lot to learn in this growing space! Resources like GCUC have been immensely helpful in growing our community. I am so excited to engage at a new level at GCUC USA this May. Come join us! You can still sign up for the NYC conference here (use code GCUCFOODLOFT for $75 off.)