Today we’d like to introduce you to Brian Jones and Chris Tracey.
Brian and Chris, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I have lived in Arlington since the mid-90’s and graduated UT Arlington with my Bachelors of Science in Management Information Systems in 2004. I have worked in various IT Roles since. I started working from home in 2013 and after a few years of that was looking for somewhere that I could work close to the house to get away every now and then. The noise of the house with small children makes it somewhat difficult to get things done sometimes, let alone be on conference calls. I remember an interview on BBC where the kid walks in and the guy was frantically trying to put the kid behind his chair when his wife ran in to grab the kid, all on air.
That’s how I was starting to feel working from home. I helped start, and co-lead, the Dallas Atlassian User Group in 2013. I also co-lead the Downtown Arlington Open Coffee Club (which was a challenge because there wasn’t really any coffee shops in downtown Arlington) starting in 2016. I have always wanted to bring people to Arlington, or help people stay after graduating from UT Arlington. When i met Chris after one of the Open Coffee Clubs and we talked about looking for a coworking space in Arlington, and not finding any options, we decided to look into starting our own.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
I can think of several:
1. It was very hard to build a community in Downtown Arlington without having somewhere, like a nice coffee shop, to meet.
2. Real estate was also a challenge for Downtown Arlington. There wasn’t anything of sufficient size, at a decent rate. So we had to be creative in how we decided to start. With all the new investment and development in downtown Arlington we are finally seeing more people in the area and more interest from people and businesses in working here.
3. The city of Arlington also has a very bad reputation when it comes to small business. They don’t seem very amenable to helping small businesses navigate through all the permits and paperwork needed to open a business. There are many businesses that have had very public issues with the city and their inspectors. We did have some small issues, but nothing major.
Please tell us about CenterSpace Coworking.
CenterSpace is the only real Coworking Space in Arlington. We started in a 500 Sq Ft “wine room” behind Potager’s Other Stuff in downtown Arlington in January of 2017(pictures attached below). By June we had outgrown our office and had to look into expanding. We moved into our new facility at 609 E Main St. in September and are still looking for ways to engage the community and let them know we are here. We currently host the Arlington House of Genius and will start hosting One Million Cups Arlington as soon as everything is in place. We really want to be part of the growing Startup Community in Arlington and are doing what we can to let people know about everything available here.
Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
Going to the airshows with my family. My dad was in the Navy. Active Duty, then Reserve.
- Full Time Membership – $200
- Part Time Membership – $100
- Day Pass – $15
- Address: 609 E Main St Arlington, TX 76010
- Website: centerspace.co
- Phone: 817-719-8020
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CenterSpaceCo/