Lowcountry Local First (LLF), a Charleston-based non-profit that does advocacy work for local-independent businesses and farmers, has launched their latest brainchild Local Works. Their newest project will create a co-working environment for local businesses and is located on the same lot as 1600 Meeting.
The office environment at Local Works provides a place for local independent businesses to work and even collaborate with other professionals in different fields. Local Works isn't the first co-working establishment in Charleston; it'll join the ranks of The Flagship and Provision. "We rent the space to locally owned businesses or entrepreneurs who specifically work out of their homes or coffee shop or they're just a small business that can't afford rent. We are offering the space to those folks. Usually those are one- to two-people businesses," says Misty Lister, LLF marketing and communications director.
But Local Works doesn't let just any business use their service. "To meet the criteria [to be a client], you are a locally owned, independent business," Lister says. "Take a State Farm rep for instance — they're a national insurance company, but they have local offices here. But they do not meet the criteria. It must be a locally owned business."
Even while creating the space for Local Works, the Lowcountry Local First team kept the Charleston community in mind. Everything from their tables to green roof was donated, provided, or engineered by local businesses such as Limehouse Produce, Fisher Recycling, David Thompson Architect, and Bill's Custom Woodworking. Green Roof Outfitters created a sustainable and cost-affordable option when they engineered the green roof on top of the building. The roof provides insulation so that the building is cooler in the summer as well as warmer in the winter. It'll also reduce storm water runoff.
Lister hopes that the environment LLF has created will continue to give local businesses an upper hand at competing against corporations and chain industries moving into the Charleston area, as well as help business owners network. "If you're just kind of mingling around and meeting one another, we're hoping that'll create strong relationships," Lister says. "They'll be able to collaborate, create, and thrive. And do better in their businesses."
The cost to rent space at Local Works is $275 per month for full-time members and $150 for part-time ones. Members who want a private office space will pay $550 a month. Full-time members have access to the office space 24 hours a day, whereas part-time members have access three times a week between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Full-time members also get a locker space.
For more information, visit lowcountrylocalfirst.org.