• Nicole Vasquez

Coworking Around Chicago: An Inside Look at Homiey, Grind, and The Bronzeville Incubator

Updated: Dec 31, 2018

In the age of Airbnb and Uber, people are sharing their homes, their cars, and now they’re sharing workspaces. Chicago has seen a boom in “coworking spaces” due to the rapidly growing rate of remote workers, creative professionals, startups, and people who can work from anyplace with a solid WiFi signal.

Coworking spaces provide a solution to the isolation and distraction of working from home, offer an escape from fighting for a table at Starbucks, and are more affordable than renting your own office. Additionally, coworking spaces are known to be breeding grounds for cross-industry collaboration and networking that happens naturally due to daily interaction with other professionals.

Yet coworking is not a one-size-fits-all industry. Coworking spaces, like neighborhoods in Chicago, each have their own unique personality, environment, services, and amenities. A space’s ownership, location, and partnerships can also play a role in its offerings to members, and many are actively involved in their local communities.

This monthly Coworking Around Chicago feature will showcase three different spaces for three different kinds of workers, allowing you to find a shared space that best suits your individual interests or needs.

For the Neighborhoodie

Homiey (3455 W. North Ave., Chicago, IL 60647)

In 3 Words: Comfortable, cozy, close-to-home

Perfect For: Residents of Humboldt Park and nearby neighborhoods. People who currently work or study from home. The budget-conscious freelancer, or bootstrapped entrepreneur. Shop small/shop local advocates.

Environment: Homiey provides the comfort and convenience of being at home, without all the distractions. The front workspace is bright, welcoming, and outfitted with a large dining room table and wooden hutch. Their mellow beats playlist adds a subtle, chilled vibe, creating a cool and consistent backdrop to the workday.

Like most homes, the kitchen at Homiey is where the heart is, but there’s no cans of Folgers here. Gourmet locally-sourced coffee is unlimited, and self serve pour-over machines are provided for your DIY brewing delight. Homiey’s Chicago-inspired decor includes a brightly colored graffiti mural, and their walls feature a rotating gallery of artwork from local talent.

The main workspace is quiet and cozy, and the bright blue hammock is perfect for a quick nap after a Cemita Milanesa sandwich from the popular Cemitas Pueblas nearby.

Unique Services: In-house professional writing and editing services. Specialty events like supper clubs and intimate artist performances.

Unique Amenities: A 600 sq. ft. vertical garden encloses alfresco seating to accommodate workers by day and event goers at night.

Notable partnerships and projects: Being located in the neighborhood means being involved in the community. The owners regularly donate their space to local nonprofits that work to improve their neighborhood and address issues affecting our city, such as violence. They’re currently partnering with Parents for Peace & Justice to host a holiday dinner for families who have lost loved ones to violence.

Ownership: Mariah and Erryn Cobb have lived in the Humboldt Park neighborhood for several years, and were driven to open Homiey to create a space for the community to gather. They imagined a place where people could come to work, hang out, eat, listen to good music, and enjoy each other’s company. Mariah is a former CPS teacher and Erryn owns Fetch PR, a public relations company.

For more information visit: www.homiey.com

Coworking starting at: $5/hr, $15/day, or $75/month

Homiey is also available on Deskpass

For the Downtown-bound

Grind (2 North LaSalle St, 14th Fl., Chicago, IL 60602)

In 3 words: Bright, uncluttered, loop-location

Perfect for: People who commute to the city but don’t have a place to work in-between meetings. Individual workers and small teams. Those looking to impress clients with a downtown office but want to pay a fraction of the price.

Environment: Grind has 11,000 sq. ft. of primarily open coworking space. As soon as you walk in, you can see everyone working with the backdrop of downtown Chicago through their 22 ft. high windows. Grind’s members are more “heads down,” but you’ll always see people engaging in quiet conversation. The managers are friendly, the views are incredible, and the workspace is void of distraction.

Unique Services: Access to computer monitors (larger screens alleviate eye strain and neck pain, and can boost productivity since the user can have more items on the screen on at once).

Unique Amenities: Beautiful views of downtown’s artery: LaSalle Street.

Unique partnership: Grind hosts Myra Community Talks. Myra is Chicago’s first and only Women’s Speaking Bureau. The Community Talks are every other month and combine networking along with 3 female speakers that discuss topics that affect women (but are often taboo to discuss-especially in the workplace).

Ownership: Though co-founded by a NYC real estate attorney and now run by a NYC-based CEO, it’s the rockstar Community Managers that run the show at Grind. Katie Hayes and Heathyr Dilts are uber-friendly, accommodating, and uphold the company’s motto to “abolish friction” by ensuring a distraction free workspace for everyone.

For more information visit: www.grindspaces.com

Coworking starting at: $35/day, $375/month

Grind is also available on Deskpass

For the Community Activist

The Bronzeville Incubator (300 E 51st St., Chicago IL, 60615)

In 3 words: Casual, light-filled, community-focused

Perfect for: Entrepreneurs looking for mentorship. Community activists. Economic development enthusiasts. Residents of Bronzeville or nearby neighborhoods, and CTA green line riders.

Environment: Lofty and light-filled, with a mellow mix of yellow and green hues against a backdrop of exposed brick. The feel is professional and inviting, comfortable and sophisticated.

Unique Services: Business matchmaking: The Bronzevile Incubator brings together civic and business leaders with younger professionals and creatives committed to rebuilding the economic foundations of the neighborhood.

The Incubator also offers Capacity Building Training Sessions to help members build the capabilities required for success in challenging urban environments.

Unique Amenities: A rooftop deck and rooftop farm.

Unique Partnerships: Bronzeville SOUP: A contest for entrepreneurs with ideas to benefit the Bronzeville Community. The winner is awarded a cash prize to pursue their idea and make a difference in the neighborhood.

Ownership: Bernard Loyd, President of Urban Juncture Foundation (UJF). Bernard is on a mission to revitalize the Bronzeville neighborhood through sustainable economic development. The UJF combines community assets with public, foundation, and private sector resources to help neighborhoods address issues related to entrepreneurship and jobs, food access and wellness, and the environment.

For more information visit: www.thebronzevilleincubator.com

Coworking starting at: $135/month

The Bronzeville Incubator is also available on Deskpass

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