Before the days of cooperative working, shared offices and the “24-hour coworking space”, as they’re now widely known, there was one place—or collection of places—where a budding entrepreneur, self-employed freelancer or remote worker could find relative peace and quiet, reliable internet access and unlimited cups of coffee: the neighborhood coffee shop. We’ve all had our own versions of Central Perk, where we could unpack our laptop, slide it onto the wobbly table in front of us, slap on our headphones and effectively rent a desk for a day in exchange for the purchase of a few cups of coffee.
The coffee-shop-as-office movement is still going strong, and Thump Coffee on Emkay Drive in Bend, Oregon’s Southern Crossing Neighborhood is a café born from that mold. Located squarely in an area of town dominated by multi-story offices and professional buildings, and sharing a wall with Bend’s original coworking space, BendTECH, the Emkay Thump is the hotbed of technological innovation, exciting startups and the “who’s who” of Bend’s energetic entrepreneurial scene. Every morning, the shop is packed with business people exchanging ideas and making deals over coffee and bagels, many of them clad in jeans and running shoes, still-damp ski pants, lycra, or *gasp* flip-flops.
One of these business people is Shannon Enete. Easy to spot, with a shock of blonde hair and a ready grin, Shannon is the owner and sole employee of Adventure Guru (www.adventure-guru.org), an internet startup that specializes in showcasing local-to-the-user outdoor adventures via 32-second videos.
“Right now, the bulk of our videos are from adventures in Oregon,” says Shannon. “We also have some in Northern California, Canada and Costa Rica. But it’s going to grow worldwide. It’s going to explode. Watch out.”
On most days, Shannon is camped out at her familiar table in the Emkay Thump Coffee, editing videos, exchanging emails, and preparing to launch the beta version of Adventure Guru’s website, adventure-guru.org. Her outgoing nature has made her something of a staple at both Thump and in the BendTECH offices, which are literally a few feet away from where she usually sits.
Shannon takes advantage of BendTECH’s Community Membership option, which—for $20 a month—entitles her to high-speed wireless internet, 50 percent off conference room bookings in the BendTECH building, a professional mailbox at the BendTECH address, and access to the BendTECH community and member events.
“I really enjoy working in Thump,” says Shannon. “And I also enjoy a lot of the features that the Community Membership at BendTECH has given me. I have access to the community, but in the common space, if I want to, I can watch the world pass by. I put on my headphones when I really need to zero in and get down and dirty with work. And then, when I take the headphones off, I can be bit more open to social interaction and networking, which happens a lot in this coffee shop, more than many I’ve worked in all around the world.”
“A lot of the ‘movers and shakers’ in this community come in and take their meetings here,” continues Shannon. “And because I’m here every day, I meet a lot of these people, which eventually impacts my business as well. For example, I’ve done custom video work for some of the people that I’ve met here.”
As a Community Member, Shannon also appreciates the availability of the conference rooms—“For those meetings where I have to have a little bit more of a professional appearance”—and access to the BendTECH community at large.
“When I have questions, I can literally walk through the door to BendTECH Coworking and find someone that specializes in whatever it is I’m trying to learn. That’s amazing because, as a startup, I have to learn how to do almost everything.”
An unexpected benefit of calling the Emkay Thump her working home, Shannon has discovered that she can exercise outdoors during her lunch break, leaving right from the coffee shop.
“We’re so lucky to be right on the [Deschutes] river,” she says. “Really. We’re like a couple hundred feet away from the Deschutes River Trail, which is a perfect, beautiful running loop for me.”
Shannon says that the Emkay Thump seems “more connected” than other coffee shops she’s worked in, likely because of its location and its proximity to the BendTECH Coworking space.
“The regular customers are often kind of powerful, connected people,” nods Shannon. “They come here for their meetings or just to get out of the office, and they come here over and over again. So, I meet them and, every time they come back, I build that relationship with them.”
Then she smiles. “I mean, every time they walk in here, they’re basically coming to my office. Right? And that’s pretty cool!”
About the Author
Sean Leslie is the President and Chief Content Officer of Cascade Cadence Content Marketing. Sean is a copywriter and storyteller who combines data-proven best practices with optimized, strategically written copy, creating content that attracts, educates, engages and converts. Sean’s a happy and devoted husband and father; an erstwhile runner, mountain biker, backpacker and outdoorsman; and—though English by birth—an adopted and fiercely proud Pacific Northwesterner. He’s also a vocal and passionate proponent of flip-flops in the office. Learn more about Cascade Cadence Content Marketing at www.cascadecadence.com