By Christie Marcella
Economic Development Manager
City of Carlsbad
Surfboards. Bikes. Beer on tap. Massages.
Think we’re describing the amenities of a resort hotel? Well, think again.
They’re actually perks offered at a new type of work space cropping up across the globe. Coworking spaces, as they are commonly known, provide a shared, collaborative office setting to freelancers, startup entrepreneurs and other independent workers looking for a professional environment while avoiding the isolation that often comes from working at home. Luckily for locals, Carlsbad has four unique coworking spaces, each catering to a different type of entrepreneur or independent worker.
It would be exciting to have just one of these spaces. The fact that we have four speaks volumes about the vibe in Carlsbad – one that embraces innovation and our unique work-life balance.
Get Smart Workspaces was the first to open in May 2013. Located just east of El Camino Real off Palomar Airport Road, this tech-oriented space offers both coworking space and dedicated offices plus meeting, training and event spaces for its customers.
“Being the first coworking space in Carlsbad was challenging since not many people were familiar with the concept at the time,” explained Bridget Ayers, co-creator of the space. “But over the past few years, we’ve seen interest increase as the idea has become more widely understood and needed.”
On Avenida Encinas just off I-5 is another popular coworking space, Hera Hub, a female-focused space that touts a spa-like environment to inspire creativity and innovation amongst its members. Carlsbad is Hera Hub’s third location in San Diego County.
“We’re so much more than a workspace,” explained Felena Hanson, founder of Hera Hub. “We are a thriving ecosystem of entrepreneurs who collaborate and support one another in every aspect of business.”
The support comes in many forms, including weekly business booster workshops and access to subject matter experts, called gurus, who offer free advice to other members. To give women additional support in building thriving businesses, the brand recently launched a business accelerator, an angel investment group and an annual conference.
Avanti Workspace is one of the city’s newer coworking spaces. Located just a few miles east of I-5 and Palomar Airport Road, its coworking space is just one component of its overall business offerings, which include a range of flexible workspaces customizable to fit the needs of any business at any stage of growth.
Members at Avanti don’t lack comforts; they have access to mobile car washing services, a game room, on-site massage services and a fully equipped gym. “With people’s busy lives these days, we’ve found that the more services and amenities we offer, the happier our members,” explained Avanti General Manager Rebekah Peterson.
Carlsbad’s newest coworking space is CommonGrounds, located conveniently near the Poinsettia COASTER station. Billed as a “well curated workspace for creatives, startups and entrepreneurs,” Common Grounds opened in November 2016 and is currently home to five anchor tenants and 13 different companies.
“We are seeing a lot of interest from the tech and design fields,” explained Common Grounds Chief Operating Officer Jason Harper. “It’s great to see ideas come to life so much easier when founders aren’t consumed by day to day office management.”
Members at CommonGrounds enjoy several extras that come along with a great office space – things like craft beer on tap and bikes and surfboards available for use.
One thing all these spaces have in common is a desire to activate the innovators and entrepreneurs in North County, giving them a place to launch and flourish. That fits perfectly with Carlsbad’s mission to build a diverse business community, and we’re excited to see places like these continue to emerge for the startup community.”