Featured Workplace Operator: Robbin Orbison of Capespace, Cape Cod, MA
Hi Robbin. Why did you start up a coworking space?
I spent my career in large scale commercial real estate. My previous employer decided to put flex space in one of his buildings, and it became my project. I thought it was the dumbest idea at first. We had millions of square feet to manage, and everybody was spending so much energy on 30,000 square feet. Somewhere along the line, though, I decided I liked this business.
A little later, my husband and I decided to move to Cape Cod. We were both working out of the house, and it was just not working. I suggested we go to a Regus instead of killing each other. But there was nothing like that here! We essentially built a place for ourselves to work.
What’s unique and special about Capespace?
Both of our spaces on Cape Cod are designed to fit in with the local ambience and environment. We’re a resort and seaside community, and Capespace is designed to be professional but relaxed: “Coastal Professional”, if you will. We have a lot of seasonality issues. We operate year round, but we boom in summer. We opened in a market that didn’t understand this product, which created unique challenges. People didn’t know what coworking was. We’ve been at it 6 years, and now 50% of people we interact with know what this is.
What are you doing to deal with the challenges?
We haven’t solved the seasonality issue. We rent out some offices and conference rooms full time in the summer. Since Covid, meeting room use is down. In the summer, we turn away 30 – 50 people who want offices for a month or two. I’d love to find a way to do popup summer offices. (Capespace has 9,000 s.f., 25 offices in their Hyannis location and 3,500 s.f. in Mashpee.)
What do you love about owning and running coworking spaces?
I love learning what clients are doing, their stories, how they found their way here. I enjoy connecting them with each other, being a referral source.
Why Deskworks to run your spaces?
When I first opened, I paid a consultant to evaluate our tech needs. They came back with what they said was the best product, and I signed the contract. Less than 6 months later, I thought it would destroy my business. I then looked at everything around, did a demo of Deskworks and was impressed. It’s simple to use, the conversion was simple. It’s so clean and easy to train people on. And everybody I talk to at Deskworks is helpful and knowledgeable. I haven’t looked back!