After more than 12 years working for American Family Insurance, including time spent helping people start their own American Family offices, Randy Roedell was ready for something new.
About a year ago he had what he described as a what-do-I-want-to-be-when-I-grow-up moment. He still wanted to work with people — helping them to move forward, he said — just as he did when he worked with the employees and clients of American Family.
Visiting Port Townsend one day, he came across a shared work space and made that his next goal.
So about six weeks ago, Roedell, 43, opened Oly nnCo Shared Workspace in west Olympia, which is across Cooper Point Road from Five Guys Burgers.
His 1,500-square-foot office environment has open work space, two offices for private meetings, an office supply room and secure lockers in another room that he rents for storage. He also provides paper shredding services, secure wireless Internet and an office with a landline phone. As an added perk, Roedell cooks waffles at 8 a.m. Wednesdays for his members.
Making waffles is another way to connect with the people who use the space, he said.
“I really want to develop a sense of community,” Roedell said, adding that “working waffle Wednesdays” is also a catchy way to help people remember the business and its services.
Similar to a gym, Roedell charges a monthly fee at three different tiers for those freelancers, independent contractors, startups or others who need space, he said.
The fee starts at $100 per month for five hours a week. There’s also a rate for 20 hours and a regular 40-hour work week. For an additional fee, members can have access to the space at all hours. So far, Roedell has signed up five members, he said.
Brenda Hayward, a licensed sales trainer and coach, works for a company called V2 Velocity.
Hayward said she’s met clients at the coffee shop, library, in her car and at home, but nothing beats a nice place to do your work.
“I always know it will be clean and professional,” she said, adding that she has one to two meetings a week at the space.
Graphic designer Jeremy Soule, who owns J. Soule Designs, enjoys the camaraderie of the space and that he can learn from the other business owners around him.
“It motivates me to work,” he said.
Roedell thinks his current space can accommodate 25-30 members, but he’s already considering whether it makes more sense for a larger space or even several throughout the area to make it more convenient for other potential users in the county.
For the moment, though, his next planned addition to his current space is a conference table for six to eight people, he said.
Oly nnCo Shared Workspace
Owner: Randy Roedell
Location: 1217 Cooper Point Road SW, Suite 7, Olympia, WA
Years in business: New. Business opened six weeks ago.
Type of businesses: Provides office work space for a membership fee.
Hours: 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, although for an extra fee a member can get all hours access.
Advice to business owners: Make sure you have a market for your business, Roedell said. He also believes in business coaching.
Did you know? Roedell spent more than 12 years with American Family insurance before opening the shared work space business. Roedell cooks waffles at 8 a.m. Wednesdays for his members.