The Port Townsend CoLab Receives Excellence on Main Award for Economic Vitality

SEATTLE – Port Townsend CoLab, a new coworking space in the downtown historic district, received the Economic Vitality award at Washington Main Street’s Excellence on Main Awards Ceremony on May 7 in Bellingham, Washington. The ceremony was held in conjunction with RevitalizeWA, Washington State’s Preservation and Main Street Conference.
Coworking is the social gathering of a group of people who work independently but share values and take interest in the spillover effects that occur when talented people share a space. The concept appeals to work-at-home professionals, independent contractors, or people who travel frequently and otherwise work in relative isolation.

Port Townsend entrepreneurs Heather Dudley-Nollette and Frank DePalma researched the market for two years prior to making the decision that such a space was a sustainable business idea for the community. It opened its doors on the second floor of the historic Elks Building in January 2013. Framed by floor-to-ceiling windows in an airy, cleverly designed 2,300 square foot space – created by local designers and contractors – the CoLab fosters inspiration and energy in Port Townsend.
The CoLab’s amenities include shared conference space, high speed internet, office equipment, a kitchen area serving locally roasted organic Sunrise Coffee, and a supportive sounding board for the members to brainstorm ideas and work together on projects. They offer targeted free and low-cost business classes to assist entrepreneurs and host the Young Professional Test Labs for the Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce, which is a peer-driven business topic brainstorm. The CoLab also offers one-on-one coaching sessions using volunteer services of Team Jefferson/EDC and CoLab members.

“Coworking is not only about the physical space but in the collaboration and innovation that comes from having creative people working in the same space,” says Sarah Hansen, Washington State Main Street Program Coordinator. “The beautiful and clever reuse of this historic space has brought together 130 drop-in and meeting space users as well as 20 full and part-time entrepreneurs dedicated to fostering a healthy and vibrant economy in Port Townsend. It is sure to be a model for other communities across the country.”

The Excellence on Main Awards, organized by the Washington State Main Street Program, recognizes communities, organizations, and individuals who are helping to achieve economic vitality and build sustainable communities through downtown revitalization and preservation. Washington’s Main Street Program is housed in the Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation and administered, under contract, by the Washington Trust for Historic Preservation.

For more information, please contact Sarah Hansen, Washington Main Street Program Coordinator, at the Washington Trust for Historic Preservation [email protected] or 206-624-9449.

Local Contact: Mari Mullen at the Port Townsend Main Street Program at [email protected] or 360-385-7911.

Photo Credit: Members of the Port Townsend Main Street Program stand with CoLab owner Frank DePalma. The CoLab recently won the Economic Vitality Award at the Washington State Main Street Conference; the application was submitted by the Port Townsend Main Street Program. Pictured (from left, front) are Main Street members Kris Nelson, Frank DePalma (The CoLab), Rosie Itti, Xoe Huffman, Connie Segal, Kevin Prime, (back) Amy Smith and Paul Rice. Submitted photo to the Port Townsend Leader.

A version of this article also appeared in the Port Townsend Leader.

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