Square One co-working space opens in Erwin


Photo above: Brian Tapp and Tyler Engle

    The town of Erwin Tuesday opened its first co-working space, branded “Square One.”
    “When you combine Erwin fiber and a really cool workspace, you get Square One,” said Lee Brown, general manager of Erwin Utilities, which partnered with the Joint Economic Development Board of Unicoi County to create the town’s first co-working environment.
    “So many people work from home now, but not everybody’s got a great Internet connection,” Brown said. “But you can come right here to Square One and work at an affordable rate and be connected to blazing fast Erwin fiber.”
    Erwin’s fiber service offers 1 Gbps upload and download speeds, meaning downloads happen at roughly 10 times the speed of cable. That electronic infrastructure, combined with the physical infrastructure of an office space within a minute of Interstate 26 but close to mountain recreation, gives Square One some unique advantages in attracting start-up businesses, Brown said. “It’s convenient, but it’s quiet. You can walk to lunch and come back to enjoy working in a great space.”
    Tyler Engle, executive director of the Joint Economic Development Board, called the addition of that fiber infrastructure to an open floor plan building, “a match made in heaven.”
    “It has flexible meeting space, white boards, high definition monitor television, six co-working desks and a private office. Folks can rent it just for a day if they need it. They can rent the shared space co-working areas for a very competitive rate, or the private office for a little more. There are no hidden fees or anything. We just try to make it easy for folks.”
    “We have been talking about establishing a co-working space in downtown Erwin for some time,” Brown said. “We have talked about bringing someone in from outside to do it. But when the Senior Adult Center approached us about a year ago and made this property available, we decided to do it ourselves. So Erwin Utilities made the investment to hang onto this property. The space was all open. It didn’t need a ton of renovations, so we decided to get moving.”
    “We think it’s important to invest in downtown Erwin and to promote job growth here,” Brown said. “Our job is to support people working in business and job creation. Getting a business started is one of the hardest things to do. And we think a lot of great things will start at Square One.”

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