Local entrepreneurs and city officials gathered, Thursday, at the grand opening of The Department, a collaborative work space for emerging businesses and entrepreneurs.
The Department had a soft opening in October and already has 20 businesses working within the space, including a record label, magazine and consulting groups, making up 60 people in the space.
The work space is inside what was once an old department store, at 1 N. 1st Street in Downtown Phoenix and was designed with collaboration in mind with open areas to sit and a spacious industrial setting.
The Department is different than a co-working space because many of the businesses working within the space are at different stages, said Matthew Moore, managing director at The Department.
The mission for The Department, and the building as a whole, is that they want The Department to work as a living room for the entire building, where other floors will be just as inclusive and based around collaboration, Moore said.
“That’s what we feel is going to be a game changer for this type of space,” he said.
Collaborative work spaces have become popular in recent years. Ironwood Venture, an consultant firm for emerging businesses, originally opened at The Department in October.
Ironwood Venture was looking for traditional office space before deciding to move into The Department, said Jeremy Veatch, partner at Ironwood Venture.
The firm wanted to be with the businesses that would typically be its clients, he said. There is a culture of help being created within The Department, and it was a perfect match for Ironwood Venture to move in, Veatch said.
There has been times where he was able to work out issues and come up with new ideas for businesses just by bouncing new ideas off of others within the collaborative space, he said.
“Instead of taking two weeks to schedule a meeting and all that, I got my answer right then,” Veatch said.
Phoenix Vice Mayor Daniel Valenzuela and City Councilman Michael Nowakowski were at the event to commemorate its opening.
“Entrepreneurship is the foundation for economic development,” said Valenzuela. “And when you think of co-working spaces, and collaboration spaces, you think of a space so an entrepreneur can grow their business, provide a service without having to worry about very high overhead cost when it comes to starting a business.”