HudCo’s New Wellness-Minded Facility Is a Dream Come True for Local Entrepreneurs
The Dobbs Ferry company’s rapid growth exemplifies the desirability and versatility of communal working spaces in Westchester.
The days of scrounging coffee shop WiFi and debating whether freelancers can legally write off lattes on their taxes are long over. Self-employed professionals demand professional settings, even if they don’t have access to a home office.
As a result, communal working spaces — rentable mini-offices with all the accouterments of a Platinum Mile corporate park building — have become increasingly popular. One such facility, HudCo in Dobbs Ferry, has seen such interest that less than two years after opening, the co-working provider is quadrupling their available space to house even more local professionals.
Opened in May 2017 by locals Christy Knell, Ira Frazin, and Christina Cohen, HudCo launched as a 2,200 square foot shared co-working and wellness space with 11 desks, conference room, events and lounge space, and a Pilates/physical therapy studio. This March, the company will open its newly renovated space, which spans 8,850 square feet of former factory floor, now including additional private spaces, conference and quiet rooms for calls and nursing mothers, plus a full kitchen, lockers, library, phone booths, and more.
Tech and service upgrades mean members can now enjoy free WiFi and printing, as well as mail services, and even powered furniture so no one ever has to hunt around for a free outlet. Best of all, wellness members from yoga and movement coaches to therapy and even acupuncturists are encouraged to meet and demonstrate their services for fellow members. Memberships come in tiered varieties, depending on frequency of use and of course discounts based on length of term.
We sat down with HudCo co-founder Christy Knell to find out how the company has been able to achieve such rapid growth is such a short time.
It hasn’t quite been two years since HudCo opened. How have you been handling such a rapid expansion?
It’s amazing. We are so happy to have a bigger community because the energy is fun with all these people growing their businesses, and everybody is just so excited that it’s just going to get bigger and better and have room for more connections, networking, and more privacy.
Our growth has been organic; we have people who are writing books sitting next to people who are remote workers who do teleconferencing, and we quickly learned that you need each to have designated space for different types of work. So we have the quiet room specifically for people who need quiet, and then the rest of the space for open use. For privacy you can go into the phone booth and the nooks and crannies and the café in the front.
To what do you attribute the rise in interest for co-working space in Westchester?
I think more and more people are working from home; big companies are offering more flexibility in the work styles of their employees. And then, there just seems to be a pretty entrepreneurial vibe going on in Westchester right now. I think with the economy growing and remote working growing, it’s a trend that’s going to keep going bonkers.
We’re building this place knowing that that’s happening and we’re trying to come out of the gate with the amenities and the design and the attention to detail that will keep us around regardless of the rest of the industry. We’re trying to come out as a leader in it even before the other places are necessarily open.
Why was it important to the team that you include health and wellness spaces into your operation?
We have that in our space here organically because of who was leasing space with us. They found their businesses grow much faster by the proximity to our office’s people. Our people like that they can get their treatments right next door, and then those practitioners like that they get more clients from our side. So in the vein of trying to offer that balance in your life and work and also integrating your wellness … that whole story just really appealed to us. [This focus on wellness is] something we haven’t seen [in other co-working spaces], so I guess that’s what separates us right now.
We talked to lots of therapists, acupuncturists, people who want that flexible space [for their profession]; they often end up subletting from somebody on Craigslist or something, so the demand [for what we offer] seemed to be there. It seemed like a no brainer.
It’s nice to have to have a well-rounded feeling here. You know you can go over and get yourself treated while also getting your own work done. We’re anticipating [events like] afternoon workshops from members to introduce what they do to other members.
What’s your favorite thing about co-working you’d never give up now that you’re not restricted to a regular office space?
Working with your friends or people that end up being your friends, instead of competing with coworkers or having this hierarchy. It’s just this even, level, comfortable friendship-circle of coworkers.