When you walk into the coworking space at General Provision, you may see a painter creating his next masterpiece, a writer diligently working on her first novel, or a group of techies on their laptops designing a new app. Though all of them have a different craft, they have the same goals -- to grow and further their endeavors.
Tim Hasse, founder of General Provision, birthed the space based on his own need for a place to work while on the road. Back in 2011, he was a director of marketing at a company and had to travel a lot. Coworking spaces provided a community he could engage with while he was working between cities. However, when he came back home to Fort Lauderdale, he had no place to set up shop.
Based on his passion for community and the desire to bring this concept to his hometown, Hasse began planning to start his own business in 2012. He opened General Provision in June of last year.
"When I first dreamt up the concept, the goal was to transcend all mediums," Hasse said. "We not only wanted to be a coworking space but also a maker space. My intention was to bring in all kinds of practices -- artists, craftsman, artisans, and technologists -- into one space just to see what that collision of talent would look like."
The term "coworking" may not be familiar to most people. In essence, these spaces are shared offices dedicated to fostering community among new business owners and individual professionals.
Hasse and cofounder Charlie Lawrence wanted to establish the idea of a factory. So the aesthetic of General Provision is very industrial. The barstools at the coffee bar are made of bicycle wheels and seats, the tables are made of a mix of wood and steel, and the furnishings are weathered to create a vintage look. When you walk in the door, you almost feel as if you've entered Thomas Edison's workshop. While Hasse provided the vision and design, Lawrence and a hired carpenter handled the handiwork by building every piece in the room.
General Provision has three levels of membership. The first is called the "commuter pass." It provides out-of-towners a week's worth of coworking. The next level up from that is the "commune membership." With this, a person has access to the entire space for a month and can work wherever he or she can find a seat. And, the most permanent level is the "resident membership," which allows professionals to take their own desk and use the address as their own.
The idea was to create a "coffee shop on steroids" where anyone from any place can come to connect, collaborate, and create.
"What makes a great coworking space, in my opinion, is having an eclectic group of people coming in the door every day," Hasse said. "That is what creates the magic of coworking. If we niche out into one specific business model, I think we are all going to be bored of each other pretty quickly."
One amazing perk of the General Provision membership is free Wells Coffee. Hasse is partnering with local coffee roaster Brandon Wells (who currently works at the Seed in Boca Raton) to energize his members and support a local business and artisan.
Now that General Provision has reached a level of sustainability, Hasse and Lawrence say the goal is no longer to pack people in to fill the seats but to find and foster the right community that can thrive and produce amazing work.
Part of achieving that goal is participating in the FAT Village Art Walk on the last Saturday of every month. The General Provision team, including community coordinator Jacqui Jeanis, seeks out local talent to provide the art and a local nonprofit to benefit from the contributions.
On January 31, their art walk was "Bouquet of Dreams: An Interactive Exhibit of Reflection and Resolution." General Provision featured artwork by Julie Ross and sold Fruga Vegan Cupcakes by Ann Nacknouck.
General Provision's next big project is hosting Wyncode Academy in the spring as the start of the first programming academy in Broward County.
"These are the kinds of partnerships we are going to continue to bring in," Hasse said, "both in a way that can supplement members during the day but also as an opportunity post-8 p.m. where we can have meet-ups, tech events, and TED-style talks and creative hackathons."
General Provision, 525 NW First Ave., Fort Lauderdale. Next FAT Village Artwalk is February 28. Visit generalprovision.com.
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!