Our Union Square office at Powell St. and Sutter St. in San Francisco, CA recently sold, and we had a new landlord. At the completion of the sale, the new landlords assured us that we would be working out a new lease. On July 1st, we found that we would not be getting a new lease. Instead, we would have to vacate by August.
A CHANCE TO GET IT RIGHT
We struggled with self-doubt at first. We reflected on past mistakes, and we wished we would have seen many things coming a lot sooner –your average run-of-the-mill pity party. Unfortunately that crap doesn’t help anybody do anything, so we moved forward. We realized this was the perfect opportunity to finally get this location right.
In San Francisco our company has three locations. Of those three, our Union Square location had the worst infrastructure by far. The roof leaked, poor ventilation in the summer, drafty in the winter– you name it, we fought it.
During a time when the city experienced major shut downs due to heavy rains, our bad roof gave us thousands of dollars’ worth of damage. Our entire lower level sat through a weekend in at least 3 inches of water.
In winter months our power would go out any time someone tried to plug in a space heater and print at the same time. In the summer months, we were lucky if the air conditioner worked. We found out the hard way that a vent in the men’s bathroom had to be open, otherwise we breathed the stench of the city.
Things worked for the most part, but some things not so much and not so often, and other times it was a true test of patience. Now, we have the ability to start from scratch and get those things right. We have a chance to rebuild without the pressure of downtime.
Everyone needs a place to work. Unfortunately for some that means no longer with us. Situations like ours prove difficult when trying to convince people to stick with you. We had lost their trust and rightfully so.
We were able to situate members into our other locations for the most part. Those we could not went to other coworking spaces, and that was fine. People need to work and coworking spaces are the best way to do it, even if it’s not at ours.
We don’t have beer taps on every floor. We don’t have our own app and we don’t cater to the “brogrammer” demographic. We’re not shiny and we’re not new, and we’re okay with that.
What we do have is a comfortable place to work that doesn’t feel like you’re in a fish bowl. We have a 100% functional and eclectic community, that I’m sure COULD be replaced by an app, but we think that’s just wrong.
We believe in face-to-face interactions. Our community is one that busts ass from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and then decides to go out for an impromptu karaoke night together. We have true collaboration happening on a daily basis. We have seen companies start from nothing and grow into something spectacular. This type of coworking isn’t for everyone and that is okay. This is how we work.
Now that we have transitioned out of the Union Square office, we can turn our focus to finding a new space. We want to remain in or around that area, which in today’s economy is proving to be difficult. The prices are high and the offices are small. So we must pivot.
We are considering such things as the amount of open space versus the amount of private space. Now we finally have the ability to scale up or down in whatever way makes the most sense based on quite a few factors. Rent is always going up, but so is demand, and we feel this is a good place to begin.
Much like our members, employees need a degree of stability. They go through the same thought processes. When you have an idea that something isn’t quite right, how long should you stay?
To be honest, any other group of employees would have jumped ship at the loss of an entire location. You have to look out for good ole number one. I wouldn’t have blamed any employee for making the call to leave after such an ordeal. But what I have come to find is that the group we have now not only gets it– they can sell it.
They know we are providing a tremendous service. Those are the employees who say to us, “I got your back,” and “I’ll be here until I simply can’t anymore.” Those employees are the rare few I’m proud to have on my team.
We are a space for people looking to “Get Things Done.” We completely understand that we might not be the best fit for you, but we do believe coworking is the best way to work. Any space that says otherwise is lying.
At the moment we are still in search of a new home for our third Sandbox Suites location in San Francisco. The future is bright and we will get this right. We look forward to helping future companies Get Things Done.