Wenatcheeis a welcoming place for businesses big and small. Sometimes, however, thesmall ones have trouble finding just the right venue in which to operate. Nomore; Mercantile, in the very heart of Wenatchee’s downtown, has been opensince August 1 for people needing a little space to make their business boombig.
Flexiblework spaces and times
AtMercantile, you can choose a flex desk, a fixed desk, a day pass or a full yearand many options in between. The two meeting rooms in the middle of the spacecan be separate or open to each other, according to need, plus opened all theway to the entire front lobby.
Wenatchee locals and out-of-town visitors are allwelcome
“Thisis a co-working space,” owner Jeff Ostenson said. “Our customers areout-of-town companies, local work-at-home business people or non-profits.”
Co-workingdoes not mean working together, but sharing the space. Even with that, thereare options for renting a private room, working in the back of the building orin the open front area.
Mercantile’samenities are many
Ostensonpointed out that the benefits of using Mercantile as opposed to having aprivate office somewhere in town are many:
- Theamenities include conference rooms, breakout spaces, single person phone boothsand kitchen access.
- Mercantileprovides and maintains a printer with a printing allocation with eachmembership.
- Thereare mailboxes for rent.
- Peoplewho work at Mercantile make connections with others who come to use the space.
And what’s a day at the office withoutcoffee? Mercantile offers complimentary coffee, tea and water in the kitchenarea.
Howan idea was made a reality
The office co-workingspace is the result of a long percolating process. Jeff and his wife, Heather,together with two friends, Rick and Cory Wray started thinking aboutestablishing an office environment three years ago.
“I initially wanted apermanent place for North40 Productions, my filming company,” Ostensonexplained. He was looking for a downtown investment, which Mercantile certainlyis, right in the center of town.
Preserving the bones of theEllis-Forde building
Ostenson’s North40company now occupies the back area of the old Ellis-Forde building while thefront half became Mercantile.
The space requiredextensive renovation. The Ellis-Forde building has occupied the spot at 14North Wenatchee Avenue since 1905. It was first a Sears-Roebuck store, then aJCPenney, after that a Bonanza store. The Emporium apartments were in the upperfloors.
When the Ostensons andWrays made decisions about the renovation, they wanted to have some of theoriginal features of the construction visible. The old wood beams, sturdy andthick so one’s arms barely reach around them, line the space throughout.
“It was expensive toexpose the old brick, but we did it,” Ostenson said, pointing at the south wallof the front lobby.
Sustainably sourced wood fromOroville
One of the walls is madeof wood, as well, adding to the warm feeling. The lumber came as a donationfrom a Colville company called Vaagen Brothers Lumber.
Ostenson chose to go withthe Vaagen Brothers because they harvest the wood responsibly, using the young growthand leaving the older trees in place.
Mercantile is a comfortable blend ofold and new
Along with the oldfeatures reside modern furnishings, surprisingly at-home- looking in thecentury-old space. Heather Ostenson, thanks to her training in industrialdesign, did most of the planning for furnishings. Mercantile is open, twofloors high to the ceiling and the front lobby is without partitions. The lobbyarea has several comfortable seating areas and tables for working, but nowalls. The large windows facing the street make up the whole front of theco-working space, creating a sense of connection to the downtown dailygoings-on.
“After office hours(8-5), the space can be rented for events. We have already held a few. There isalso a charge a clean-up fee for custodial services,” Ostenson said.
Nearly full occupancy in two months
Now that Mercantile hashad its doors open to the business community for two months, it seems to beneeding more space already; there is only one single office space left and 35regular customers occupying their spaces.
“We do have more room ifwe need it, 9 000 square feet upstairs and 25 000 square feet in the basement,”Ostenson said.