Pittsburgh is home to many coworking spaces. It is a growing culture with no signs of stopping! These spaces provide entrepreneurs, freelancers, startups and more with a communal area to conduct work without the overhead costs of owning a building or the distractions of working from home. In search for the best coworking space, how do you know which one is best for you? Below are five locals, occupying a variety of professions, who have found their fit in a local coworking space.
Courtney Williamson, CEO and founder of abiliLife, has been a member of Alloy 26 since its inception in May 2016. AbiliLife develops medical products to improve quality of life for elderly patients with neurodegenerative diseases, such as Parkinson’s disease. While studying at Carnegie Mellon University, Courtney started the plans for abiliLife’s first product, the Calibrace+. The one-of-a-kind back brace improves posture and balance.
Williamson is drawn to Alloy 26’s flexibility and access to her patients. Located in Nova Place on the North Side, Alloy 26 is close to Allegheny General Hospital. This places Williamson and her office manager within walking distance of their patients. As abiliLife grew, Alloy 26 accommodated them. They reside in a small private office. “I have access to a full office suite (i.e. conference rooms, lobby, event space, printers) without having to shoulder the entire overhead,” said Williamson.
Other amenities include an on-site La Prima Café, access to private phone booths and conference rooms for those with flex or dedicated desks, and lounge areas overlooking downtown Pittsburgh. With a membership, you also receive benefits linked to Nova Place, such as access to Union Fitness.
Where: Nova Place (100 S Commons, Suite 102)
Cost: Various membership levels. Click here for addition options (some include parking!).
Kate Porigow works as a supervisor and content manager for NutritionFacts.org, a nonprofit which provides evidence-based videos and blogs on health and nutrition topics. NutritionFacts.org is made up of a 12-person team all of which work remotely. Katie is the only team member in Pittsburgh.
Kate has been at Stack for about a year. She has a full-time (or medium) membership allowing her access one to three days a week. Not only is the Shadyside location close to Kate’s home, but the atmosphere lends itself to a lived-in feeling. “When I visited Stack, I liked the casual but inviting atmosphere with several options of work spaces – from standing desks to couches to private phone booths,” said Kate. “The kitchenette allows me to take my lunches, which is important for me. It feels kind of homey in there.”
Pairing working from home and coffee shops with her flex space in Stack is ideal for Kate. She maintains the flexibility and relaxed state of being a remote employee while receiving the social and productive benefits Stack has to offer. “What I like about having a coworking space is that I still have the option to work outside of my home. It can get lonely at home, or sometimes I just need a change of scenery to be re-motivated,” said Kate.
Stack also offers unique escape pods when a break from work is needed. Their latest addition, a “HTC Vive virtual reality play area,” is a favorite of members.
Where: Shadyside (5740 Baum Blvd, 3rd Floor)
Cost: Membership plans:
Aadam Soorma runs a small media practice, Whom Creative, and sees himself as a freelance content producer. Though he is a “one-man shop,” Aadam uses fellow creatives, mostly photographers, to develop content in the form of social media campaigns, e-newsletters, blogs and other digital media channels.
Aadam was initially hired by Beauty Shoppe in 2015. He worked on aspects from marketing to direct service for the members. “Around mid-2017, I had the desire to go solo and launch my own company that largely spawned out of everything I learned at Beauty Shoppe. Learning how to learn is a powerful thing,” said Aadam. “I continue to work out of Beauty Shoppe’s coworking space today.”
Aadam works out of Beauty Shoppe’s Butler St. Lofts location in Lawrenceville. It is a street away from his residence making the location the best amenity. Having access to Beauty Shoppe’s other six locations is a great bonus explains Adams. Beauty Shoppe has locations in East Liberty as well as new space, Terminal Building, in South Side set to open this fall. As far as the Lawrenceville location, Aadam enjoys the diversity of work tackled in the space. “Folks working in education, technology, engineering, design, construction, nonprofit / advocacy…I love seeing them do their thing and pursue their passions.”
Strong, reliable WIFI is essential to Aadam’s work, and Beauty Shoppe delivers. The space itself is professional and clean allowing Aadam to feel confident when hosting face-to-face meetings with clients. “Having a clean, professional space to take prospective clients for meetings or pulling a photographer in for a chat or just to treat someone to a good cup of coffee makes the coworking space super valuable, said Aadam, “The space just feels activated, if that makes sense.”
Where: Various Locations (East Liberty, Downtown, South Side, New Kensington)
Cost: Membership plans:
Sarah Radcliff is a designer for Australian women’s activewear brand, LILYBOD. After studying apparel design at the University of Delaware, Sarah work in New York City for about five years. She returned to Pittsburgh and worked for Dick’s Sporting Goods establishing her knowledge in activewear before moving onto LILYBOD.
Sarah works with her boss out of Australia. Like many remote workers, Sarah missed social interaction. Sarah did not think coworking spaces were a feasible option. She then met with Gwen Miller, Community Operations Manager of Beauty Shoppe, and discovered a fit in Ascender. Though under the Beauty Shoppe umbrella, Ascender sets itself apart with its variety of programming, including an incubator program, and its aesthetic. “The design and the industrial and modern feel are satisfying to my designer side,” said Sarah.
She started her flex membership at the beginning of summer. With Sarah’s design setup involving multiple screens and devices, she realized she needed a desk all her own. Sarah was placed near Ingrid Cook, founder of SHzoom, a technology company changing the way the world handles auto accidents, and Allison Howard, founder of Aurateck, a textile company producing bedding to improve one’s skin. Working near social women in the technology and design realm was a homerun for Sarah!
Ascender’s 24/7 access and an educational edge are other amenities on the top of Sarah’s list. Each month, Ascender holds collaborative talks about business topics relevant to their members. “Ascender helped me meet and create meaningful friendships that I otherwise would have never met,” said Sarah. “The people really create the atmosphere, as everyone here is doing something cool and has a story.”
Where: East Liberty (6401 Penn Ave, 3rd Floor)
Cost: Membership plans:
Victoria Zwergel, Vice President of Hullabaloo Agency, handles account service for the start-up marketing agency. Though the agency is young, the marketing background of Victoria and Founder and Creative Director, Gordon Robertson, runs deep. “Hullabaloo was created to give clients a better and smarter option when it comes to choosing a marketing partner,” said Victoria. “At Hullabaloo, accounts are never pushed down to the less-expensive, less-experienced junior staff. Our clients work with prime-time, senior professionals who know how to get to the right strategy and the right executions quickly.”
Industrious has 52 locations nationwide. Members include freelancers to Fortune 500 companies. Hullabaloo settled in Industrious Pittsburgh when it opened in April 2017 becoming their first local member. Located in the iconic PPG Place on the 31st floor, Industrious’ sleek and professional approach complimented Hullabaloo’s creative vision. “He [Gordon] knew instantly that Industrious was going to be Hullabaloo’s first home,” said Victoria. “The views, the culture, the brand – everything was what he was looking for to start and grow his business.”
Collaboration is a key part of day-to-day business for Victoria. Industrious’ amenities, such as high-quality technology, comfortable meeting areas and unlimited Commonplace Coffee, fuel a productive and united working space. Not to mention, the view from PPG Place invites big ideas.
Most of all, Industrious is more than a space, it is a community. The Industrious family is attentive to their members’ needs. “The Industrious team, Anna and Kayla, go above and beyond to make Industrious the best place in Pittsburgh to work,” said Victoria.
Where: One PPG Place, 31st Floor
Cost: Memberships can vary based on notice period, office size and other factors.
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