Robinson Realty and Management Group (RRMG) was the first business to sign up for office space at Grand River WorkPlace, when it opened earlier this year. WorkPlace was a natural fit for RRMG, which is led by long-time Grandmont Rosedale resident, Cheryl Davis and her two partners, Gaye Butler and LaToya Johnson-Fowlkes. Prior to leasing space at WorkPlace, RRMG had office space elsewhere, but, according to Cheryl, “the rent went way up and it didn’t make sense to keep that office space.” Cheryl and her partners sell and manage property throughout the tri-county area. They felt they needed a Detroit presence and, since Grandmont Rosedale is “a prime area,” having an office at the WorkPlace “made sense and it’s cost effective.”
Grand River WorkPlace is the new co-working facility created by Grandmont Rosedale Development Corporation. WorkPlace offers affordable office space for small businesses, including wifi, copying capabilities, a shared kitchen, phone service, two conference rooms, and a larger co-working space is available for events.
For Cheryl, the location of the WorkPlace couldn’t get any more convenient. Cheryl has lived in Grandmont Rosedale for 28 years. Even though she and her husband Paul bought the house all those years ago thinking they had purchased their “starter home,” they have no plans to leave. Their two children are grown which makes they house feel bigger, and it is also convenient to where Cheryl’s mom lives. The location of Cheryl’s home and office and the flexible hours that the co-working space offers enable Cheryl to spend Tuesdays with her mom. “Tuesday is our hang out day,” Cheryl says, clearly grateful for the flexibility in her schedule.
Real estate is Cheryl’s third career. For 18 years Cheryl managed three AAA branches, and then she owned an insurance agency for 7 years. For the last 10 years Cheryl has been in real estate. “Realty fits my lifestyle,” Cheryl says. It also is apparent that she as well as her partners are quite skilled at what they do as Robinson Realty is a boutique business without signage throughout the Detroit area. “It’s word of mouth. It’s all referral, and this model has worked well for us.” Advertising is effective, but sometimes it’s the unsolicited information that is the most valuable.
A shared work space like the WorkPlace not only offers lower costs on a number of office needs, but it also offers a collaborative, entrepreneurial spirit that simply would not occur in an isolated office space. Shortly after moving into WorkPlace, Cheryl commissioned a table from artist and furniture maker Katie Bramlage who built the display tables and shelving at Love Travels Imports, the fair-trade imports store that currently occupies the pop-up business space at the WorkPlace. In many ways Cheryl’s new table represents just how and why co-working works. Had Cheryl not had space at the Grand River WorkPlace, she may never have met Yvette Jenkins, the owner of Love Travels Imports. Cheryl may never have stopped by Yvette’s pop-up store and Cheryl would not have seen the beautiful and unique tables that Katie made for Yvette’s store. Cheryl would not have commissioned Katie to make a table for her office. This sharing of information, the support of other co-working businesses, and the close proximity of business owners which enables them to have conversations about everything from local artisans to real estate, is what makes co-working and the Grand River WorkPlace a great idea.
Click if you’d like to learn more about all that the Grand River WorkPlace, contact Economic Development Specialist BrieAnn Bell at 313.387.4732, ext. 188 or firstname.lastname@example.org.