In today’s gig economy, freelancers and solopreneurs rely heavily on tech to stay connected. But sometimes, the personal connection gets lost amid the digital fray. Fort Worth’s Craftwork Coffee Company intends to change that throughout the state of Texas.
The company recently acquired Houston-based WorkFlourish to expand its popular coworking-space concept to multifamily residential developments in Austin, Dallas, and Houston.
“The craft coffee-workspace is gaining momentum because people want a convenient, congenial space where they live and work,” says Craftwork CEO Riley Kiltz. “We’re working with multifamily residential builders to serve this thriving business community.”
Craftwork debuted on Fort Worth's Camp Bowie Boulevard in 2015. It offers workspaces for rent along with coffee and espresso drinks and pastries. It opened a second branch in Near Southside on Magnolia Avenue, and then a location in the up-and-coming Foundry District.
Kiltz points to explosive growth in the gig economy as a key to Craftwork’s plan — just over 57 million people, or 40 percent of the workforce, will be solo gig performers by 2020, he says. Many of these contributors are in apartment homes and other multifamily residences but lack access to suitable, and sharable, work space.
Meanwhile, amenity space often sits idle, the company points out. Putting that space to work provides residents with a useful environment and allows property managers to generate income from otherwise inactive real estate, they say.
The other key to Craftwork’s plan is more esoteric — combating loneliness.
“The irony of today’s digital connectedness is that many people actually are lonelier than ever,” says Trevor Hightower, Craftwork’s new president and chief marketing officer. (The Plano native founded WorkFlourish and is a former CBRE managing director.) “We’re uniquely positioned to combat the loneliness epidemic with a higher vision of coffee and work place experience. Fighting loneliness is really the heartbeat of who we are."
Funding for the company’s planned statewide expansion — $3 million — closes in June. The company plans to build 15 new locations throughout the state by 2021, starting in Austin with Streetlight’s Flatiron at the Domain project, which is set to open in early 2019.
Monthly memberships begin at $200 per month for flex (individual) memberships and at $450 per month for dedicated desks and private suite membership. Long-term discounts are also available.
"It's all about providing the highest possible vision for work-and-live places where there’s the right experience of community, flexibility and location," says Hightower. “We’re in an important cultural moment where Craftwork locations are needed by an increasingly isolated demographic."