Today, shared workspaces are viewed as the norm. It’s an industry that’s continuing to pick up speed in communities across the country, especially as more small businesses realize that they can secure office space without the upfront costs and long-term commitments. But when Mark Hemmeter first founded Office Evolution, the idea of co-working was just beginning to take off.
He said, “Being in this business 15 years ago was hard. People had no idea what we did, and we’d have to explain it to them over and over again. But over the past five to seven years, people started to understand the purpose of shared work spaces, and now they’re seeking us out. There’s been a huge transition when it comes to how people find us and what they’re looking for.”
As the shared work space industry has taken off, so has Office Evolution. The franchise brand is continuing to grow in communities across the country due to its unique positioning in the marketplace. Rather than focusing on opening up locations in big cities, Office Evolution is targeting expansion in suburban communities where small business owners are in strong need of office space.
That demand is something that Hemmeter knows first-hand. In fact, it’s what sparked his idea for Office Evolution in the first place.
“I was a real estate developer working out of my house with three young daughters, and it wasn’t working. Every horror story that you could imagine in that scenario was happening to me. So, I found a small virtual office company down the street and became their client for the next two years. I absolutely loved what they did for me, from answering the phones and collecting my mail to setting up meetings. That’s when I decided to quit my day job and start Office Evolution,” said CEO and Founder Mark Hemmeter.
Office Evolution is far from the average shared workspace. For starters, the office space that’s available at each location is customizable in order to fit members’ needs. Entrepreneurs, small businesses and satellite workers who are looking for an office environment can secure furnished spaces as well as private or micro offices. There are also dedicated workspaces in a more open, collaborative setting, with all of those packages varying in price and length of the agreement.
Office Evolution also stands out from the competition because it provides its members with the opportunity to be a virtual office user. While dedicated space members have access to an office or area that’s theirs, virtual members are able to work from home while reaping all of the benefits that come with a traditional office. These members have access to meeting or brainstorm rooms when needed in addition to a receptionist, phone service and mailing address, adding a level of professionalism and validation to the businesses they run out of their homes. All of Office Evolution’s members also receive access to Wi-Fi, a printer and community kitchen that includes coffee and tea for guests.
The main differentiator that sets Office Evolution apart from the competition is its commitment to building a positive environment for budding small businesses.
“The culture of Office Evolution helps us stand out from other brands. At the corporate office, and across our franchise system, we are a group of people working together for a common goal,” said Hemmeter. “I was born and raised in Honolulu, and the guiding principle of Ohana (or “family”) perfectly describes the way we approach business. We honor and respect our members, franchisees and corporate employees, and that shows throughout the company. We’re all in this together.”
It isn’t just Office Evolution’s unique culture that makes the brand stand out in the co-working space. The brand has carved out its own niche within the segment because of its ability to bring real estate, hospitality and tech components to the table. Between that comprehensive approach to co-working and Office Evolution’s focus on growing alongside small businesses in suburban markets, the brand is poised to continue developing its niche in this growing industry.
“Everyone who’s a part of the Office Evolution Ohana, from our franchisees to our members, all want to be successful small business owners or support those small business owners. I absolutely love being surrounded by – and servicing – small business owners and people who have a dream. They want to work in a place where they can control their own lives. That’s why it’s really important to me that they’re surrounded by people who are willing to go for it and are willing to try,” said Hemmeter. “At the end of the day, that’s why I do this for a living. We have thousands of members across the country that are now getting the office space and support that they need because of Office Evolution. Ultimately, it’s the small business owners of the world that have the guts to go out and try something. It’s our duty to support them.”