Business

Couple opens Office Evolution co-working space in NewBo

Co-working spaces for drop-in clients and the reception area (at right) are seen at Office Evolution in Cedar Rapids on Friday, June 8, 2018. The franchise co-working and office space offers individual offices, a business address and package receiving, conference rooms, and an office kitchen  (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)
Co-working spaces for drop-in clients and the reception area (at right) are seen at Office Evolution in Cedar Rapids on Friday, June 8, 2018. The franchise co-working and office space offers individual offices, a business address and package receiving, conference rooms, and an office kitchen (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)
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A new Cedar Rapids business is the first Iowa franchise for a Colorado-based office space rental company.

Office Evolution’s 44th location opened in Cedar Rapids’s NewBo neighborhood on April 23. The business provides shared workspace, private furnished offices and address and phone services on a month-to-month or annual membership basis.

“We want to be flexible and meet the pain points of entrepreneurs and small business owners,” Cedar Rapids business center manager Melissa Miller said.

Tom Miller, Melissa’s husband, is the franchise owner. Also an account manager at Marion-based ESCO Group, Tom first encountered Office Evolution about five years ago when placing some engineers in Colorado.

“He was researching office space for them and found Office Evolution,” Melissa said. “It was super easy. The office center provided the furniture, utilities and internet. All the engineers had to do was plug in their computers and start working.”

Last year, impressed by his ongoing experience with the company, Tom decided to become a franchise owner and bring the business to Iowa.

At the time, Melissa was working as an elementary school teacher and ready for a change. The couple determined that she would resign from her teaching position, oversee the build-out of the business center and manage the center once it opened.

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“It was a big commitment, but we felt safe jumping on board,” she said. “It’s a good company with strong core values, and the corporate people really helped make the process easier.”

After looking at different options for locating the new business center, the Millers selected the recently constructed Depot Building.

“We picked NewBo because it’s a thriving area and people want to be here,” Melissa said. “We have ample parking and good amenities within walking distance. It’s a perfect fit to be down here.”

The business center has 24 dedicated office spaces, one-day rental offices, two conference rooms, shared workspaces with 24/7 access, a community kitchen, secure mailboxes, staffed reception, secure internet and a shared printer-copier-scanner.

Melissa said one thing setting Office Evolution apart from other local co-working spaces is that membership provides access to other Office Evolution business centers nationwide, with 70 locations expected by year-end.

“It’s great for salespeople who travel and have clients all over,” she noted. “Or for big businesses who want to place someone remotely here in Cedar Rapids.”

The Millers have a long-term goal of opening a second business center in North Liberty, Coralville or Des Moines. For now, however, they are focused on a short-term goal.

“We want to get filled and create a community here,” Melissa said. “We want to help people be successful in business.”

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l Know a business in operation for less than a year that could make for a nifty “Ground Floor”? Contact michaelchevy.castranova@thegazette.com.

At a Glance

l Owner: Tom Miller

l Business center manager: Melissa Miller

l Business: Office Evolution

l Address: 1120 Depot Lane SE, Suite 100, Cedar Rapids

l Phone: (319) 249-2017

l Email: melissa.miller@officeevolution.com

l Website: www.officeevolution.com/locations/cedar-rapids

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