Tag Archives: B:Hive Southport

Offices Evolve. Here’s Westport’s Newest.

Back in the day, Westporters commuted every morning to New York. They worked in offices (corner ones, if they were lucky), then clomped back on the train each night.

These days, Westporters spend less time in offices. Some commute only a couple of days a week; some not at all.

Telecommuters and their cousins — entrepreneurs and small business owners — work in a variety of places, including their homes (in actual “home offices,” if they are lucky), Starbucks, the library — you name it. If there’s WiFi, there’s a Westporter working.

But — as nice and homey as working at home or a coffee shop is — it’s not at all like working in an office. You miss contact with other workers. Along with a high-power copy machine, mail services, conference space, even an endless supply of staples like staples.

Co-working has come to town. B:Hive recently opened on the Southport line. It’s a great space in a converted mill, with a killer view of Sasco Creek. This is Luke Scott’s second Hive; he’s got one — equally fun and funky — in Bridgeport.

But the co-working space is also occupied by national franchise. One of the biggest — Office Evolution — just opened at 500 Post Road East in Westport. It’s a bit more corporate than B:Hive. But it’s just the thing for anyone looking to put a professional face on a small business.

Michael Wolfe enjoys plenty of light in the shared office space. There are also private offices and conference rooms.

The Westport Office Evolution is on the 2nd floor of the Morgan Stanley building, across from Fire Department headquarters. It’s big (8,000 square feet), filled with new furniture, modern and bright.

Laura Kaufman is the local owner (with her husband John). A longtime Westporter with a background in non-profits, educational consulting and school psychology, she loves the Office Evolution model.

It offers a variety of plans, ranging from simple mail addresses and phone numbers to shared space and private offices (49 to 140 square feet). There are 36 private offices, 2 conference rooms, a co-working space, phone booths for private calls, a reception area and kitchen, all available on monthly, 6-month and yearly plans.

There’s also 24/7 access. Copy, printing and mail areas. Free coffee and tea (plus snacks for purchase). And super-fast Ethernet.

Office Evolution is based nationally near Boulder, Colorado. That’s a “warm, communal place,” Laura notes. She wants her location — the 62nd in the chain — to be known that way too. She plans plenty of networking events, and a grand opening in April.

(There is a grand opening — with tours — on April 11, from 3:30 to 7 p.m. For more information, click here or email Westport.CT@OfficeEvolution.com)

Westport Office Evolution owner Laura Kaufman (left) and business center manager Lindy Steinorth.

Co-Workers Swarm To Westport’s Hive

Co-working sounds like a high-tech concept. Folks sit hunched around their laptops, earbuds in, collaborating remotely with people they may never actually meet.

Nope, says Luke Scott. That’s not it at all. Co-working is all about being together, with other intriguing folks, in a space that is not an actual office.

Luke should know. The 1991 Staples High School graduate — whose real gig is owner of MadisonMott, a funky, kick-ass branding, advertising, digital and social media agency– also created, developed and runs B:Hive. That’s the cleverly named 5-year-old co-working space that’s helped bring great energy and creativity to downtown Bridgeport.

Luke just opened his 2nd co-working Hive. This one is in an even more cool, fun space: the old Sasco Mill, straddling the Westport/Southport line.

B:Hive — the rear view, from Sasco Creek and Bulkley Pond.

Over the decades the historic structure morphed from a cider mill to a yarn shop. Now it’s ready for its 21st century turn.

Owner Gerard Bernacchia had been looking to convert part of his building into a co-working space. David Cusa of Peoples Bank connected Gerard with his Staples classmate and longtime friend Luke.

Things moved quickly. Designers Madeline Rhodes loved the interior space. She worked with tech director Jordan Rabidou and creative director Marcella Kovac (Luke’s wife). Their design brilliantly blends features of the mill with the demands of technology.

There are 2 levels — both bright and airy, all equipped with high-speed WiFi.

The Hive boasts original beams — and the latest video conferencing technology.

When Luke gives a tour, he starts on the street level. He shows off the big individual desks, conference rooms, private phone booths (for cell calls), printer, storage space and kitchen.

It’s an inviting space — perfect for folks who work on their own but find a home office too limited and/or distracting, and crave just-enough contact with other human beings. (The business connections made with other co-workers is worth the monthly fee itself.)

But when Luke takes visitors downstairs, the Hive really hums.

There’s a long communal work table. Just beyond, large windows look out on a spectacular Sasco Creek waterfall.

The communal table looks out on a gorgeous waterfall.

If that doesn’t inspire you, you deserve your miserable fluorescent-lit cubicle.

The Hive opened just before Thanksgiving. The first co-workers, Luke jokes, were a great blue heron and white egret.

Humans quickly followed. They include writers, advertising and PR pros, an event planner, an apparel businessperson, a media consultant and a non-profit executive.

There’s an intriguing mix of ages and backgrounds. Right now, women outnumber men.

Among the features and amenities they enjoy: 24/7 access; free coffee and snacks; guest visits; access to the Bridgeport B:Hive; onsite printing; networking and social events, and mail service.

Oh, yeah: Kayaks and bike sharing.

And an Airbnb upstairs (for guests).

Luke Scott. Don’t be offended — this sign is in the bathroom.

Luke is a huge Bridgeport booster. That’s where he opened his first co-working space — just around the corner from his MadisonMott agency.

But he also loves his home town.

He’s excited to bring his 2nd Hive to the beautiful mill and waterfall on the Southport border.

And proud to offer a co-working space that is Westport’s latest buzz.

(For more information, click here; email swarm@bhivecoworking.com, or call 203-873-2008.)