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Set Up Shop at the Work Lodge -- Small Business Saturday at Vintage Park Shopping Village slated for Nov. 28

To understand exactly what the Work Lodge is start by picturing the ideal office space. Take that concept and modernize it," founder Mike Thakur said. “We’re a very contemporary, modern approach to a shared workspace."

The office-space-of-the-future opened this June – offering plenty of room for co-working, meeting rooms, and executive suites for a new generation of small business owners. "There’s nothing like it in Houston," Thakur said. “We’ve got bright colors, Italian leather seating, a slide down from the loft, an Xbox room in the corner. You can have a lot of fun here."

The business is one of a number of independently owned businesses that call Vintage ParkShopping Village home. The restaurant, retail and entertainment center is joining the national movement for Small Business Saturday, a shopping holiday held every year on the Saturday after Thanksgiving.

Small Business Saturday started in 2010 as a counterpoint to Black Friday and Cyber Monday, both of which usually benefit big box stores instead of small, local shops. A number of tenants at Vintage Park will offer specials for the occasion on Saturday, Nov. 28.

Opening the Work Lodge

Thakur discovered the need for such a space firsthand. He was working as a chief operating officer at a security company. "“We didm’'t have a centralized office, and everyone worked remotely," he said. “"I worked from home and quickly realized it wasn’t as fun as I thought it would be."

Similarly, working in a coffee shop did not seem like an appropriate alternative for a business executive, especially one who would need to discuss important security matters over the phone without anyone overhearing. And signing a lease on an office space didn't make sense for someone who simply needed access to a table and chair.

Thakur tried signing up for a more traditional shared workspace, but the vibe wash 't right for the young entrepreneur. “"I can stare at four walls from home," he said. “"I didm’'t want to be in a concrete prison cell. I didn't want long corridors where you’re the only one in the building."

Instead, he envisioned a flexible space where business people could talk when they wanted –and have privacy when they needed it. And when he couldn'’t find anywhere that fit the bill, he went to work creating it. He found the perfect location at 118 Vintage Park Blvd. Suite W in Vintage Park. “"Houston is a sprawling city," he said. “"I figured if I could build in the suburbs, people would have a short commute. And at Vintage Park, you can have lunch nearby. You can stop to shop on the way home from work. We picked Vintage, because it’s in the center of a lot of amenities. It’'s just convenient and makes life easier."

The Work Lodge has two large, open workspaces and a number of private offices. There are a few options for those interested in joining the cooperative.
If you’'re just starting off and need a mailbox and an occasional room for a meeting, there is a $59 option. Co-working memberships run for $275 a month and allow people to work in the shared spaces from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. This option is all inclusive – all the coffee you can drink and access to the internet are included.

For $549 a month and up, members have access to private and shared workspaces, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. There are 125 offices in the building and, in total, the space can accommodate about 300 members.

Creating a Community

The Work Lodge offers happy hours every week, business workshops and mentoring programs for members. Most importantly, Thakur says, the space provides the ability to network and make like-minded friends.

"“A lot of small business owners miss the community," he said. “"They don’'t have colleagues and it can get lonely. Here, you bump into someone grabbing coffee. You get to talk to people from different industries."

And who knows – the building could lead to business referrals down the road. Thakur said that members are discouraged from selling to each other or pitching their services. But if you meet someone looking for a lawyer or a specific service, why not point to that person working down the hall or who you met over drinks last week?

"“There are a number of layers to what we do," Thakur said. “"We provide a community to small business owners. We want it to be meaningful. It’s like you’re working in a real-world LinkedIn."

He believes collaborations and referrals will happen organically. He also thinks members will be inspired by each other. “You’ll meet people and feed off of that energy," he said.

The space also accommodates concrete needs – like conferences and meeting rooms, and a place to connect with clients.

Thakur is confident that the concept is perfect for a start-up. “You don’t want to sign a three-year lease, because you don’t know if your business will be around then or what direction your business will go," he said.

Instead, for a fixed amount every month, you can get a membership at the Work Lodge. “We take care of everything," Thakur said. “It’s all inclusive. You just walk in, plug in and get to work."

Instead of dealing with handling a lease and maintaining an office space, business owners can concentrate on bigger, more important things – namely building their markets and pushing their products.

"Instead of wasting time and resources, put that back into your own business," he said. "Companies that move into an open, collaborative workspace like this end up seeing increase in profits and they build lasting friendships."

For more information, visit theworklodge.com or call 844-967-5563.

For more information about Vintage Park, visit vintageparkhouston.com.


About Vintage Park Shopping Village
Vintage Park Shopping Village is Northwest Houston’s premier destination for business, shopping, dining and entertainment. Vintage Park is a visual transport to an Italian shopping promenade, with the Piazza, a nearly one acre pedestrian area, as the heart of the center. The Piazza features a series of fountains and beautiful landscaping that can be enjoyed by diners from one of the many venues that overlook the area. Where else can you find award-winning restaurants; world-class healthcare; unique entertainment options and a variety of boutiques and shops available in one location? There’s always something happening at Vintage Park; 110 Vintage Park Blvd. (Located at Hwy 249 at Louetta Rd) Visit vintageparkhouston.com