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The Telegram
  • Area's first co-working space opens in West Utica

  • The Mohawk Valley’s first co-working space, called Finish Line Co-Working, has opened at the Shoppes at the Finish Line in West Utica.

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  • The Mohawk Valley’s first co-working space, called Finish Line Co-Working, has opened at the Shoppes at the Finish Line in West Utica.
    The space is the brainchild of Rod Wilson, a local entrepreneur and Sue Keller, the sales and marketing officer at Shoppes at the Finish Line, which houses several retail businesses.
    The idea is simple, to provide relatively cheap and convenient office and meeting space for local entrepreneurs and small businesses.
    “Rod came up with the idea, brought it to me and we ran with it,” Keller said. “I think there’s a real need for it.”
    Co-working spaces are becoming more popular as an easier way to find office space, meet clients or network with other small business owners.
    In larger cities they are often hot-beds for innovation and start-up companies. The photo-sharing application Instagram was born in a San Francisco co-working space. It sold in April 2012 for $1 billion.
    The new space officially opened on March 18. Nestled in between the other retail businesses on the first floor of an old mill building is an eclectic mix of couches, desks, and chairs.
    On the second floor are several rooms with space for presentations or meetings.
    “There’s nothing like it in the area,” said Wilson, who runs Gocal, a company that promotes local businesses and attractions in Utica and Rome. “What we’re hoping is that this will help spread the word about local businesses and create a supportive atmosphere for entrepreneurism.”
    Keller and Wilson also plan to offer copy and fax services. Customers are welcome to drop in and use the space for a daily rate or pay for a monthly membership.
    A membership includes perks like a locked personal filing cabinet, personal desk and a mailing address.
    And of course, there’s free coffee and Wi-Fi for everyone.
    On Thursday, Veronika Freeman explored the space with Keller. Freeman runs www.StressFreeDesign.com, a website design company from her home in Frankfort.
    “This is really nice,” she said. “It might be nice to get out of the house every once in awhile, you know, get away from the dog.”

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