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CoCo Reinvents Office Space In Twin Cities

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- A new survey shows that people who work collaboratively are enjoying greater success, with 85 percent of coworkers saying they are more motivated and 90 percent report having better interaction with other people.

The biggest pay off, though, is that 42 percent say they're making more money.

Now, a few Minnesota entrepreneurs are focusing on collaboration with their business, CoCo. It's a "Co"-working, "Co"-llaborative office space for all sorts of entrepreneurs.

CoCo has a location in both Minneapolis and St. Paul. The Minneapolis location is housed within the old Minneapolis Grain Exchange.

A lot of people made and lost fortunes in the exchange building, where people traded grain for cash from 1881 until 2008. It sat empty for the last few years until last August, when Kyle Coolbroth and his collaborators chose to reinvent the space.

"It really hit us that we were now in custody of this legacy this history," said Coolbroth. "It was incumbent upon us to do something really phenomenal with that."

So they invented CoCo, for people sick of working from home, or frustrated with crashing libraries and coffee shops.

They give people work space, meeting space, kitchen space, and also provide, as CoCo co-founder Don Ball stressed, "the two most important things: all the coffee and WiFi you can drink."

There's no lease required, just membership dues of $50 per month for 1 day per week or $250 monthly for unlimited use.

Right now CoCo has about 200 members representing 60 companies.  There are all kinds innovators -- developers, lawyers and marketers -- all in one spot.

"It doesn't really matter what your profession is," said Ball. "If you are OK coming to a space and talking to other people and talking about ideas you're interested in, you're our kind of person."

Even Mayor R.T. Rybak is a supporter.

"Occasionally he comes and visits and goes around and meets all the members," said Ball. "He likes to call this the 'Brain Exchange.'"

CoCo is set to be the breeding ground for today's innovators who will be the future of Minnesota business.

Coco also has a social aspect with regular meet ups and seminar by experts from the community to teach new technology, business and personal management.

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