The Denton Main Street Association is celebrating the 5-year anniversary of Stoke Denton, a downtown co-working space off Hickory Street.
Learn about their business launch story, overcoming the pandemic, and permanent shifts they made to Stoke. Plus, catch the details of their 5-year anniversary celebration starting with a ribbon cutting event.
Creating Denton’s First Coworking Space
With tech-enabled jobs booming across the globe by 2014, the local city council (led by Kevin Roden) and the City of Denton Economic Development team had a brilliant idea to support those working in tech or building tech startups right here in Denton: a dedicated coworking space.
On August 1, 2016, Stoke was born.
Photo: Heather Gregory, Executive Director of Stoke Denton
It was unlike anything Denton had ever had offered before. And this was just the beginning of Denton drilling down on turning itself into a startup-friendly city.
This partnership with the City of Denton helped Stoke Coworking Space establish deep roots and build awareness of this new concept throughout town.
Their secret sauce for success?
Authentic community and stellar programming for entrepreneurs and professionals alike.
The small but mighty Stoke team not only knows each member by name and what they do for a living, but also works alongside them to support their dreams and needs every step of the way — something a traditional work environment typically doesn’t offer. Whether it's helping members make valuable connections, regularly checking in with members in-person and online (including a dedicated Slack channel), or offering solutions such as helpful programming, it’s clear that Stoke takes their members' needs seriously.
But they also know how to make it a fun place to work.
Member perks include (but not limited to):
- Exclusive happy hours
- Breakfast and networking huddles
- Stocked kitchen with even cold brew and beer
- Located conveniently near the downtown Denton square
- A dedicated mailing address for business needs
- Unlimited use of conference rooms for meetings and events
- Private, high-speed internet
- Mentorship opportunities
- Printer, copier and scanner
Virtual memberships are also available for those who just need to use the space on occasion or have a designated mailing address to retrieve packages.
Then Came COVID-19
Even though Stoke members worked remotely for their own jobs, being an in-person coworking space took a dramatic shift once the pandemic storm rolled through.
During that time, they made some major changes to their space… and their business model.
While events were once part of their income strategy, they realized they didn’t need to compete with all the other great event space options downtown. Instead, they wanted to focus on what they did best — a dedicated coworking space.
What was once a large event area with a stage turned into additional seating and office options — including 11 brand new private offices. This not only allowed Stoke to offer more memberships, but also allowed them to space everything out to a safe distance for members.
Photo: Event spaced that turned into additional office and meeting space.
But what were they going to do with all their great programming and events they offered to both members and the public?
The shift to go completely virtual was the only foreseeable answer. They turned those in-person events into completely virtual programming and offered dedicated member support virtually during the thick of the crisis.
However, Executive Director Heather Gregory says there are some pivots that will likely stick around indefinitely, such as virtual events and programming. Through Zoom and YouTube, they’ve been able to find the silver lining and reach a broader audience they never had tapped into before.
Here are some of the events they offer to the public that have gone completely virtual or will soon have a hybrid in-person experience:
- FlintConf: An annual startup conference occurring every spring. It will likely be in-person again starting in 2022.
- Coffee & Convos: conversations with mentors occurring every Tuesday morning on Zoom.
- Lunch & Learns: educational programming occurring on Zoom. Sign up for their email list to get notified on their next Lunch & Learn events.
- Global Entrepreneurship Week: events and programming like the Denton Startup Crawl and Fireside Chats with local entrepreneurs and experts occuring November 8-14.
- AccelerateHER: an annual incubator program offered in partnership with Texas Woman’s University, Center for Women Entrepreneurs.
Stoked for the Future
Since 2016, Stoke has served Denton as a space for work, meetings, collaborative and creative events, and as a resource for entrepreneurs and business owners.
By dedicating their space to fit the needs of entrepreneurs, remote workers and freelancers, Stoke can focus on staying involved (including the Denton Main Street Association) to support the collective community of local businesses who keep our city thriving.
Heather and the Stoke team continue doing everything possible to ensure their members are supported throughout their unique entrepreneurial journeys, especially during a global crisis.
A 5-Year Anniversary Celebration
Join us for a Denton Chamber of Commerce ribbon cutting celebration at Stoke Denton on Friday, August 20th from 4pm to 6pm. It’s a great opportunity for folks to come tour the space, check out some new murals freshly painted by local artists, hang out with Denton Mayor Gerard Hudspeth, enjoy some bites from Chestnut Tree and stay cool with some local beverages. The Stoke ribbon cutting is free to attend, and registration is open through Eventbrite and Facebook. REGISTRATION LINK HERE.
Looking for a change of scenery? Want to get involved in a community of fellow entrepreneurs and remote workers?
Stoke will also have a FREE Coworking Day on Friday, August 27th! It’s the perfect opportunity to check it out before you decide if it’s a right fit for you.
If you choose to become a Stoke member, there are still a few private office spaces available for rent, but plenty of non-private office options as well.
Author: Courtney Stucky | Aspiro Agency