If B:Hive is half as successful as the group that created it — and gave it its spectacularly clever name — it will be one of the most impressive Bridgeport stories in years.
And an avid Westport booster is playing a big role in the city’s renaissance.
B:Hive is a flexible, funky (and very airy) “co-working space” in Bijou Square. Boasting workstations, supplies, a lounge with video and board games, 3 “phone booths” for private conversations, conference room, mailboxes, free coffee, storage for laptops and bikes — and of course killer WiFi — it’s the perfect way for entrepreneurs, writers, tech guys (and gals), musicians and producers, small business owners, and anyone else with a home office to get out of the house and into a lively, shared, work-and-fun environment.
Oh, yeah. It’s open 24/7/365.
The name says it all. B:Hive is:
- a honeycomb-like place buzzing with productive activity
- a spot where cross-pollination — in this case, of ideas — happens constantly
- proud to “B” in Bridgeport.
One of them is Luke Scott. A proud 1991 Staples High School grad who last year moved his very successful company – Madison/Mott, a hip branding, advertising, digital and social agency to Ketchum Street, in the heart of resurgent Saugatuck — he nonetheless lives in downtown Bridgeport.
He loves his adopted city. He goes to the Bijou Theatre, enjoys pizza and music at Two Boots, and is inspired to contribute his many talents to harnessing the immense — but achingly unfulfilled — potential of Connecticut’s largest city.
He found kindred spirits in his girlfriend, Marcella Kovac, and 4 good friends (who are also couples). All are committed to Bridgeport, emotionally and financially.
Each of the 6 contributes a special talent. Besides Luke and Marcella — a graphic designer — there’s Jordan Rabidou (programmer); Madeline Rhodes (visual stylist), Amy Henson (teacher) and Ben Henson (city planner).
It’s a high-powered group. And they work fast. In less than 2 months from the day they got the idea for B:Hive, to the party that opened it, they:
- found the perfect space (285 Fairfield Avenue)
- scoured Goodwill, Salvation Army, Craigslist, antiques stores (and, okay, Ikea) for sofas, work tables, chairs, a gorgeous old stand-up radio/record player, eclectic art and (of course) a ping pong table
- developed marketing materials (“Working from home doesn’t always work.” “Cowork. Collaborate. Comingle.” “Way more caffeinated than a coffee shop.”)
- devised a pricing structure ($20 a day, $80 for 5 days, $200 a month, $2,000 a year).
“We have a vested interested in seeing the Bridgeport — and Connecticut — economies prosper,” Luke says. “We think we can help by stimulating creativity. That leads to better business.”
He smiles. “And fun.”
As B:Hive builds its community, its founders look ahead.
They’ve already hosted a very successful tech event and ping pong tournament. On August 1, there’s a Game Night.
When students return to nearby campuses — UB, Sacred Heart, Housatonic, Fairfield U. — B:Hive will reach out to them.
Amy says, “When I was a night student, it was hard to find places to study. And some kids still live at home. This place has everything. It’s right off 95, it’s got parking, it’s on the bus line, it’s near the train station. Plus we’ve got coffee and food.”
Luke Scott loves Westport. Moving Madison/Mott to Saugatuck is one of the best decisions he ever made, he says.
But — unlike many here — he also loves the often-kicked, seldom-respected sleeping giant of a city 15 minutes away.
How much does he love it? He points to B:Hive’s spacious bathroom.
“There’s plenty of room to change into a power suit for a client pitch,” he says.
“Or workout clothes. You know, you can walk to Seaside Park from here.”