Meet Megan Donovan, the founder of SHIFT Work+Play where working parents can use a coworking space while their children are in a safe playspace.
This entrepreneur built a coworking space for good
Katherine Garcia does not care for running. Which is ironic, considering her business got started with top-selling running socks in the early 1990s. But after decades, Garcia realized the running focus was more of a stumbling block than a runner’s high for her. And once she walked away (she definitely didn’t run), things really took off.
Today, Bay Six is a fully equipped branding and imprint business with a vast array of high tech printers, engravers, and embroidery machines to create images and put them on whatever your heart desires. Almost everything is designed and produced in-house, giving the team full control and a wide range of capabilities. The business is located in downtown Raleigh, North Carolina. And the differentiator is that Bay Six can do small runs.
“If you’ve ever ordered something branded, you know how it is,” Garcia explained. “The minimums are crazy — like a thousand of one thing. Small businesses don’t need a thousand of one thing. So we’re here for them. We can handle any size order but what sets us apart is our ability to do medium to small business runs.”
In early 2021, Garcia’s family company, BaySix Properties was awarded a municipal grant for a more comprehensive upfit of the warehouse space. Garcia felt compelled to give back — so she decided to use a portion of the new space for good.
Giving back wasn’t a new directive at all. In fact, her personal mantra was passed down from her philanthropic parents and her roots in Birmingham, Alabama: we give what we can, because we can.
On the side of the building is a massive mural that says, “Love, Respect, and Kindness.” And it's with those ingredients that Garcia carved out just over 600 square feet of the warehouse and set it aside as a workspace for nonprofit organizations.
The Space For Good at Bay Six is a micro-coworking space. It has room enough for a team to use a conference table, a lounge area, a massive flat screen TV, some mobile hot desks, and a hospitality corner. It’s fully appointed with printers and wifi. And it is bookable by the hour, by the day, or by the week.
“It’s little, but mighty,” Garcia laughed.
“I know several local non-profit leaders who do Zoom calls from their cars. I see them hunker down in local coffee shops. Some even asked if they could just sit in my office for half an hour and respond to emails… I knew this was something nonprofits needed, and I knew I could deliver it.”
Coworking in downtown Raleigh isn’t unheard of. In fact, just down the street from Bay Six is Raleigh Founded, a traditional coworking operation that offers entrepreneurs and startups office space, meeting rooms, networking, and events with over 100,000 square feet of space across multiple locations.
But this wasn’t a matter of competition. In fact, the leaders at Raleigh Founded stepped up to help Garcia, sharing knowledge, insights, and even software recommendations (Yes, Raleigh Founded also uses Coworks coworking software, and Coworks headquarters are located there.) “They were so open-hearted and freely consulted with me, and guided me, and asked questions they knew to ask. It was wonderful.”
Nonprofit organizations can join Space for Good for a membership fee of $50 a year. That gives them access to the space whenever they need it, reserving time and resources in the Coworks app. But the app doesn’t just let the members reserve the space.
“I especially wanted to build a community of leaders,” Garcia said. “The thing I really liked about the Coworks app specifically is creating a network that you can reach. You can search the different nonprofits, and they can post an event that they're having that maybe other nonprofits would be interested in. Or where they can co-work together and discover how their missions are aligned.”
At a time when some nonprofit teams can’t even meet in person for lack of space, meeting other nonprofits and finding ways to collaborate and do even more good fits perfectly with Garcia’s mission.
Another exciting aspect of Garcia’s endeavor is the way she’s managed to activate other local businesses to be part of the space. “I have lots of really good people in the community that have helped get it up and running,” she said. “My family was number one, of course, but also The Coley Group Realty donated the hospitality corner. 321 Coffee donated a printer/copier. And Sears Contract, Inc. donated the walls and the drop ceiling. Plus Raleighwood Media, my Business Media Group at Bay Six, is donating time to help me get CoWorks set up and my website integrated.”
Garcia is ridiculously humble about the success of Bay Six and impact of Space for Good. “I hired smart people,” she said. “I worked with an amazing business consultant. I have a supportive family. And most of all, I have a great team of employees running the daily operations and producing quality products.”