Desiree Ross and Matthew Fox have teamed up on a new venture aimed at helping entrepreneurs, startups and and those who just need a termporaty office space get a leg up without the costs associated with taking on a full lease. Photo by Mike Davies/Campbell River Mirror

Campbell River entrepreneurs examine a collaborative approach to ‘office work’

New coworking space soon to open in downtown Campbell River

Two local entrepreneurs who have already had an impact in the local business market have now teamed up on a new collaboration.

Which is entirely fitting, because the collaboration itself is about collaboration.

Matthew Fox, one of the brainchildren behind Beachfire Brewing and Nosh House, and Desiree Ross of Modlux Interiors, had a serendipitous meeting a while back – at their respective children’s soccer practice of all places.

At the time, Fox had been considering transitioning away from the brewery and getting back into work in information technology, and Ross happened to mention, almost in passing, that her space was simply too big for her.

“I used to have a home decor store in here,” Ross says, looking around the space, which has now become an elegantly modern, part lounge, part coffee shop, part office-style space next to the walking corridor between Tyee Plaza and the Quadra Ferry near Java Shack. “And I had my studio in the back. But two businesses was too much for me to handle with two kids and a husband who works away. So I ditched the retail because I had just way too much on my plate and the design was always my passion anyway. So then it was, like, ‘what else can I do with the space?’”

And so, just like that, the idea for Campbell River Coworking was born.

Simply put, Campbell River Coworking is a space is a storefront in Tyee Plaza where local entrepreneurs, startups, sole-proprietors and anyone else who needs a space to work can come together to do their work for a few hours, a few days, a whole month, or longer if they need it.

“It’s really a great, proven model,” Fox says. “It’s very popular in bigger centres like Vancouver or New York, where the cost of office space is exorbitant and people just can’t make the numbers work. So they’re working in their home, but your home has a lot of distractions, there’s no accountability, it takes a lot of self discipline, and, honestly, it can just get lonely. People are finding they’re missing out on that social interaction aspect you get from a shared space and the social interaction they need to stay mentally healthy.”

But it’s not an “office” in terms of everyone getting a stark, segregated cubicle. That would kind of defeat the purpose of it being conducive to collaboration and cooperation. The atmosphere of a coworking space, the way Fox sees it, at least, “is like a coffee shop, but with a focus on productivity.”

But what if you need people to just leave you alone for a bit so you can focus? In a place that’s designed to be collaborative and social, is that even a thing that can happen?

Well, Fox says, when someone rents space, they come in and are given, essentially, a traffic light.

Wait, what?

“It’s like a little cylinder that acts as a social traffic light,” Fox says. Basically you set your “status” on it so people know whether people can bother you or not.

“Green is ‘come talk to me,’ yellow is ‘I’ll talk if you need me,’ and red is, ‘leave me alone, I gotta get some crap done.’”

There are various ways to book space at Campbell River Coworking. You can book by the hour for $3.75 – for a minimum of four hours – or you can book a space for a day for $25.

Or, for those who want to set up in the space on more of a semi-permanent basis, a regular desk you can call your own for a month will cost you $200, “or you can get the deluxe package which is a bigger desk with filing cabinets and all the extras for $350,” Fox says.

“We’re trying to be flexible and have lots of options,” he says. “Basically, just come talk to us and we’ll figure out the best way for you to make use of the space and get what you need out of it.

Find and follow Campbell River Coworking on Facebook to keep up with them and see when they are open, as it could be any day now. They’re just putting the finishing touches in place, and expect to be in full swing and booking desk space before fall is out.

You could also sign up to stay in the know by going to their website at campbellrivercoworking.com and filling out their application form. Just check the box called, “being kept in the loop via email” under “Interested in…”

And if you end up booking a space at Campbell River Coworking, make sure you go talk to Desiree. She gets lonely.

“I kind of just really like having people around,” she says with a laugh. “I wouldn’t want to just sit alone in an office somewhere. I like chatter, the feel of community and being able to, you know, feed off the energy of other people.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A Vancouver Island teacher has started a petition imploring B.C. Premier John Horgan to close provincial borders to non-essential travel and enforce stricter quarantine measures for travellers. (B.C. government)
Teacher launches petition for B.C. to close provincial border, impose stricter quarantine

Province says what works elsewhere may not work here as they look into legalities of such actions

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the legislature, Jan. 11, 2021. (B.C. government)
Vancouver Island smashes COVID-19 high: 47 new cases in a day

Blowing past previous records, Vancouver Island is not matching B.C.s downward trend

Environment Canada is forecasting snow for the east Vancouver Island region the weekend of Jan. 23. (Black Press file)
Up to 15 cm of snow forecast for Campbell River area this weekend

Snow to begin Saturday night, according to Environment Canada

Aquaculture employee from Vancouver Island, Michelle, poses with a comment that she received on social media. Facebook group Women in Canadian Salmon Farming started an online campaign #enoughisenough to highlight the harassment they were facing online after debates about Discovery Islands fish farms intensified on social media. (Submitted photo)
Female aquaculture employees report online bullying, say divisive debate has turned sexist

Vancouver Island’s female aquaculture employees start #enoughisenough to address misogynistic comments aimed at them

Tahsis has raised concerns about the condition of Head Bay Road with the provincial ministry of transportation. (Photo courtesy, Martin Davis)
It’s 2021 and Tahsis still has to fight for good roads

Overuse by logging trucks, safety concerns at blind corners and potholes are still a reality on Head Bay Road that connects Tahsis to Gold River and Highway 28

Businesses continue to struggle under COVID-19 restrictions as the pandemic reaches the one-year mark. (B.C. government)
Another 564 COVID-19 cases, mass vaccine plan coming Friday

15 more deaths, community cluster declared in Williams Lake

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A specialized RCMP team is investigating a suspicious trailer, which might have connections to the illicit drug trade, found abandoned outside a Cache Creek motel. (Photo credit: <em>Journal</em> files)
Police probe U-Haul trailer linked to illicit drugs left outside Cache Creek motel

Hazardous materials found inside believed to be consistent with the production of illicit drugs

Premier John Horgan leaves the podium following his first press conference of the year as he comments on various questions from the media in the Press Gallery at B.C. Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Monday, January 13, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Interprovincial travel restrictions a no-go, Horgan says after reviewing legal options

The B.C. NDP government sought legal advice as concerns of travel continue

The cost of potentially counting deer regionwide was among the issues that prompted Capital Regional District committee members to vote against pursuing a greater CRD role in deer management. (Black Press Media file photo)
Expanded deer management a non-starter for Greater Victoria

Capital Regional District committee maintains current level of support

Gem Lake Top, at Big White Ski Resort, seen at Jan. 8. (Big White Ski Resort)
Big White cancels $7.3M in lift tickets, accommodations due to COVID-19 orders

Since November, the ski resort has been forced to make several changes

Darlene Curylo scratched a $3M ticket, BCLC’s largest ever scratch and win prize. (BCLC)
Kelowna woman in shock after winning BCLC’s largest-ever instant-ticket prize

Darlene Curylo couldn’t believe her eyes when she saw the amount of money she’d won from a scratch ticket

While each person has different reasons for becoming homeless, a UBCO study shows they learn through their interactions with different services to perform ‘as homeless’ based on the expectations of service providers. (Contributed)
Kelowna homeless forced to ‘perform’ for resources, says UBCO study

One participant in the study said ‘It is about looking homeless, but not too homeless’

Gov. Gen. Julie Payette takes the royal salute from the Guard of Honour as she makes her way deliver the the throne speech, Wednesday, September 23, 2020 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Chartrand
Gov. Gen. Julie Payette resigns, apologizes for ‘tensions’ at Rideau Hall

Payette, who is the Queen’s representative in Canada, has been the governor general since 2017

Most Read