7 Unexpected Free Meeting Spaces in Fort Collins

If you’re NOT a non-profit, nothing is quite as difficult and nuanced as finding free meeting space in Fort Collins. A simple project I titled, “find all the meeting spaces in Fort Collins” escalated so quickly I had to hire a research assistant to help with the heavy lifting. It took her SIX hours to track all the spaces down and I’m sure we are still missing some meeting rooms in town. I’m now looking at a spreadsheet that is 76 meeting rooms long with FOURTEEN columns of criteria.

I’m starting to understand why no one has tackled this project.

We began our research with the “Mostly Only Helpful To Non-Profits” document from our local United Way. I’ll be honest, that used to be my go-to for people but it’s so infuriatingly focused on non-profits that it’s almost worthless to meetup groups, hobby groups and casual gatherings. The UNITED WAY put that together. It SHOULD be focused on non-profits.

By and large, meeting rooms in Fort Collins cost money. I get it. A small sliver of Cohere’s revenue comes from renting out space but as our rooms sat empty most of the time I had even more irritated emotions. WHY HAVE A ROOM SIT EMPTY WHEN I CAN BE OF USE TO SOME GROUPS THAT NEED IT?!

So I set out to find the Unicorns of meeting rooms. I wanted rooms that have an almost impossible set of criteria. Is it possible that Fort Collins could have meeting rooms that are free, responsive to inquiries, have good availability and few restrictions on use? I found a few and I want everyone to know about them.

And so I reveal to you the Difficult to Find 7 Unexpected Free Meeting Spaces in Fort Collins. Go forth and MEET. Link to ALL meeting spaces in Fort Collins.

Gryphon Games and Comics/Purple Cup Cafe

Capacity: 8, 20, 25, 40 in FOUR different rooms

Location in Fort Collins: Midtown at Drake and Shields

Cost: Free

Fill out this request form

Bonus Points: ample parking

Unicorn Score: 5/5 rainbow sprinkles because I couldn’t find any faults and they seem to have built their business around being useful.

Pour Brothers

Capacity: 2-30

Location in Fort Collins: Old Town on Linden Street

Cost: free

Contact form to reserve time

Bonus Points: Mondays from 4-6pm meetup groups can get 1 free appetizer/4 people

Unicorn Score: 4/5 rainbow sprinkles because it’s not private.


Capacity: 30-50

Location in Fort Collins: Midtown at Drake and College

Cost: free

Call to reserve a time: 970-449-6948

Bonus Points: Mulligan’s is the largest free non-church meeting space we could find

Unicorn Score: 5/5 rainbow sprinkles.

Community of Christ Church

Capacity: 75

Location in Fort Collins: Old Town on Oak Street

Cost: free, possible donations needed

Call to reserve a time: 970-692-9922

Bonus Points: this space is well-equipped with mic, podium, projector and screen

Unicorn Score: 3/5 rainbow sprinkles because of their website. I can’t even. Their room calendar is up to date if you can decipher it.

Community Banks of Colorado

Capacity: 12? ish

Location in Fort Collins: South at Harmony/Boardwalk and Midtown at Drake and Shields

Cost: free

Call to reserve a time: 970-229-1140

Bonus Points: a south location!

Unicorn Score: 3/5 rainbow sprinkles for having limited hours of availability.

Cohere Coworking Space

Capacity: 10

Location in Fort Collins: Old Town at Mulberry and Howes

Cost: free after 6pm M-F and anytime on weekends for working meetup groups (after hours access is available to members and people who go through our meet-n-greet process)

Email to find a time

Bonus Points: since this is a coworking space, it is fully equipped with hi-speed wifi, desks with power built-in and comfy rolling chairs.

Unicorn Score: 4/5 rainbow sprinkles because I refuse to the use the phone to field inquiries.

Cohere ConferEssence Room

Capacity: 20

Location in Fort Collins: Old Town at Mulberry and Howes

Cost: free for meetup groups 24/7 (all hours access is available to our members and groups who go through the meet-n-greet process)

Check the calendar and then email to reserve.

Bonus Points: space is private and separate from the rest of the coworking space. Has whiteboard, flat panel display, configurable seating and a window.

Unicorn Score: 5/5 rainbow sprinkles because it’s my business :)


Here is a link to every meeting space in Fort Collins we found. Rooms at the top of the list are either totally free, somewhat free or free for particular groups. Other meeting rooms are fee-based.

Free Coworking Week in Fort Collins August 28-September 1

EVENT: Back to School, Back to (Co)Work // Free Week of Coworking!

As students go back to school, schedules shift, and summer break comes to an end, The Fort Collins Coworking Alliance invites you to go back to (co)work!

The shift from summer to fall often ignites an eagerness for increased productivity and building new connections. Coworking provides an ideal opportunity to get more motivated, connected, and productive by offering a professional environment away from the distractions and comfort of home to help you get more work done.


From August 28 through September 1, the Fort Collins Coworking Alliance is hosting a free week of coworking for you to try out different coworking options in Fort Collins and find the best place for you to kick start your productivity.

Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday will be dedicated to free coworking days at the different coworking spaces, each space open to free coworking on a different day based on its location. On Thursday and Friday, receive 25% off the first month of any membership at all participating coworking spaces when you sign up for your preferred coworking space.

Schedule of Events: (space addresses found here)

Monday // Downtown // Free day of coworking at The Articulate and FVC Mesh, 9AM-5PM

Tuesday // Downtown // Free day of coworking at Cohere**, Digital Workshop Center, 9AM-5PM

Wednesday // Campus-Midtown-South // Free day of coworking at Music District, Front Range Business Center and Office Evolution, 9AM-5PM

Thursday & Friday // All Coworking Spaces // Free day of coworking at your preferred space, 9AM-5PM.

Sign up to join any co-working location on Thursday or Friday and get 25% off the first month of any membership!

Don’t miss this opportunity to try coworking or finally take the plunge into a membership to find the right fit for you. Time to get back to (co)work!

RSVP on the Facebook event page.

If you have any questions, comment below or email info@focoworks.com

**Cohere has very few memberships available so get here early!

How To Keep Momentum After Startup Week Fort Collins

As Startup Week Fort Collins nears its epic end, let’s make a plan to keep the momentum into next week and beyond. Whether you got your first taste of coworking, got your mind blown by a musician or felt a much needed boost in motivation as a freelancer, it’s important to not let this enthusiasm dwindle.

Step 1: Outreach

Reach out to everyone in that pile of business cards you collected. Mention something that they said that really resonated with you. Invite them out for a coffee or beer just to talk and get to know one another better.  Ask to take a tour of their company. Mine through the Sched again and pull out company names or people you really enjoyed meeting. Follow them on twitter, like their Facebook pages and read their websites.

Step 2: Digest Your Notes

Did you take as many notes in your awesome FCSW17 notebook as I did? Now is the time to go back through all your notes. Check out the books, blogs or resources that you wrote down. Pull out action items and put them on your list to tackle next week. This post you’re reading right now was actually a footnote in my notebook. Look at me! Taking action!

Step 3: Participate OR Amplify

My key takeaway this week is a new awareness of how many people are doing AMAZING things in our community. Now is the time to participate in those activities by attending meetings or helping to push us forward as a group. If you can’t possibly take on another task, then please be an amplifier. Tell your friends and coworkers about the great progress that is being made. Awareness is the first step to Amazeness! Here are some things I learned about this week:

What are you going to take action on next week? Tell us in the comments below.


Building Coworking Communities: No Sailboat Required

It’s easy to make connections and get to know one another inside a coworking space. We take that for granted and just assume that we’ll meet someone new in the course of our day to day to-dos. A recent retreat to Seattle taught me how vital and AWESOME a planned group activity can be especially when that activity is way outside our “normal.” So when our organizer asked if we’d like to go SAILING, it seemed a little scary but we would be doing it together so surely it would be okay.

I tentatively agreed to a sailboat ride and bummed some Dramamine off a fellow coworker. Little did I know that it would be scary and exhilarating and that it would change Adam’s life forever.

photo 2

By getting us a little out of our comfort zones and putting us in cramped quarters we were able to learn something (sailing) from new friends (the captain and his crew) and experience our location (Seattle) from a whole new point of view. Andy and I even did the most terrifying thing and crawled out to the front of the boat while we were experiencing maximum “reaching” aka, the boat was really at an angle to the water and we could have fallen out at any moment. But we didn’t.

photo 3

In order to bring a similar experience home to the Coherians of Fort Collins, we’re going to stay up late and sort canned goods. Yep, I plan to use up as much if not more adrenaline during our Food Bank Shift at the CAN Jam on November 6th from 11pm-1am. Heck, it meets all the criteria: new location, new people to learn from and we’ll get a different point of view on where we live.

Has your coworking community done activities outside of your space? Tell us in the comments!

ps. my “crew” on the boat:

Aaron from Rapid City, MI, The Factory

Tony from New York City, New Work City

Adam and Alex (not pictured) from Philidelphia,PA, Indy Hall

Susan and Jacob from Seattle, WA, Office Nomads

Ashley from Toronto, Canada, The Foundery

Andy from Columbus, OH The Salt Mines


4 Enlightening Events For Indy Professionals In 2012

Events For Independent Professionals

Happy New Year Coworking Community!

This is a wonderful time when the new year stretches out before us like an untouched canvas. The possibilities of what can be accomplished over the next 12 months seem endless at this moment.

As location-independent professionals, January is a great time to set goals, plan strategies, and identify the opportunities for connection and collaboration that will expand our own networks as well as enrich the larger community.

Even if you’re a regular at your local coworking space, it can be easy to become comfortable with your limited circle of friends and colleagues. But as a freelancer or business owner, it’s essential that you find new ways to challenge yourself, and new people who will expand your mind. Attending events, both inside and outside your chosen industry, is a great way to continue your education while also increasing your friends and followers.

If you’re looking for a few key events to attend this year, here’s a short list of favorites to get you started:

Worldwide #Jellyweek 2012

A “Jelly” is like coworking, only without a dedicated space, time or set of attendees. Often catalysts use the Jelly format to explore their community’s interest in coworking before opening a permanent space. International Jelly Week is a decentralized global event during which independent professionals will come together (in a person’s home, a coffee shop, a public space or an office) to work and network for the day. Topics of discussion include: What important needs can be fulfilled by coworking? How can coworking help solve local and global problems? How can coworkers use the global coworking infrastructure to foster their businesses and projects? Which people and networks aren’t yet connected to the idea of coworking, but should be involved? How can business-oriented networks and NGOs use the coworking infrastructure for their global community building and actions? Learm more at jellyweek.org and on Facebook.

2nd Annual Global Coworking Unconference – Austin, Texas – March 8, 2012

The premier event for coworkers and coworking space owners returns for its second year…bigger and better than ever! This year, the Global Coworking Unconference (GCUC or “juicy” for short) moves to a bigger location and will feature two tracks: an “unconference” track with exceptional peer-to-peer breakouts (great for seasoned coworking space owners) and a more structured conference track (perfect for newer owners and folks who just want to learn more about the movement.) Anyone can jump back and forth between the two tracks throughout the day. The larger keynotes and breaks will bring everyone back together in one large group, making it a cohesive experience for all. Learn more and register here.

International Freelancers Day 2012

International Freelancers Day is the largest FREE online conference exclusively for self-employed service professionals. You’ll learn from some of the world’s most respected professionals and thought leaders in the areas of freelancing, marketing, social media and personal development. They’ll reveal proven and actionable business-building ideas, insights, tactics and strategies that will help take your “business of one” to the next level. International Freelancer’s Day 2011 took place in September and was a huge success. Watch this website for an announcement of this year’s conference.

HOW Design Live 2012 – Boston, Mass., June 21 – 25

Registration is now open for HOW Design Live—not one but four high-energy creative conferences rolled into one. Individual tracks focus on Designers, Project Managers, Creative Freelancers, and Packaging Specialists. Choose one—or all—of the conferences detailed below and produce your most inspired and professionally rewarding creative work ever.

Check out the main web site, HOWDesignLive.com, now updated with full conference information on sessions, workshops, tours, speakers, and networking events. Sign up by March 30 and take advantage of Early-Bird Savings!

Do you know of a stellar event that independent professionals would be crazy to miss? Share it in a comment!


Image Credit: Flickr – opensourceway

PJs & PB&Js Night Coworking

One of the best parts about being in business for yourself is that you get to pick your dress code. Every so often Cohere members will show up in pajamas, sweats or yoga pants to crank out their to-do lists.

At the prompting of long-time member Kristin Mastre, we dusted off an old coworking event and revitalized it with bacon, friendship bread and a plaid blanket.

PJs & PB&Js night coworking was reborn. The premise of the event is pretty simple. Wear your finest or comfiest PJs and contribute a fixin’ to the PB&J bar. Kristin always outdoes herself and brought ingredients to make a first ever peanut butter, apple butter and bacon sandwich. I had it and it was awesome. The bacon itself was a huge hit and we had to take turns at the microwave to keep the supply flowing.

Other ingredients included marshmallow fluff, Nutella, homemade blueberry jam and extra crunchy peanut butter. Potato chips, Oreos, Amish friendship bread and hot cocoa completed the lineup.

A high lite of the night was that Kevin forgot to pack his PJs before his commute to work and ended up donning a plaid blanket as a cape for the evening.

Don’t miss out on a whole week of events at Cohere November 7-11. Details and RSVP.

Want To Support The 99%? Occupy Your Local Coworking Space

Occupy Wall Street unicorn

The Occupy Wall Street protests have attracted lots of media and social media attention over the last five weeks. In cities and towns across the nation, people are gathering together to voice their opinion on systems they think are broken and share their vision for a better country.

Yes, many of the issues #OWS seeks to address are political and polarizing, and no, I’m not going to try to convince you to carry a sign or camp out in a park. Coworking is a way of life, and at the core of these issues are things near and dear to the heart of every coworker:

The importance of a community that shares its time and resources; the belief that small, independent businesses are essential to a strong local economy; and the vision of a world where independence and innovation are rewarded with the respect and salary they deserve.

Just today, the Cohere Community learned that former-member Suzanne Akin’s home had been destroyed in a fire. Without any prompting or pleading, the community mobilized itself to communicate needs and offer help. This is a perfect example of the myriad non-tangible benefits that come from belonging to a community like ours.

Just like our country, Cohere is going through tough, tumultuous times. Just like our economy, we’re not sure what the future holds or where the money will come from. But just like the Occupy Wall Street movement, I believe that the answers will come from you, the people.

That’s why I’m asking you to Occupy Cohere.

In the second issue of the Occupied Wall Street Journal (yes, it has its own newspaper–completely funded by a Kickstarter campaign), there’s a full page editorial that reads, “We are speaking to each other, and listening. This occupation is first about participation.”

None of the seemingly-impossible things that #OWS hopes to accomplish will happen if people refuse to leave their comfort zones and get out there on the street to talk about it.

None of the amazing feats of community that we’ve experienced at Cohere will continue unless EVERY SINGLE ONE OF US agrees to leave our warm houses and coffee-shop offices and come back to the wavy tables.

To entice you back and get you talking, we’ve planned an entire week of Occupy Cohere events starting November 7th. Tell your clients and your friends. Get excited about what you’ve been missing. Bring your talent, your sense of humor, and your lovely face back to Cohere. The future of our community depends on it!

Occupy Cohere Events

Monday 11/7: Free Coworking Day Kick Off, 9a-4p
Tuesday 11/8: New member coffee social: all members who have joined Cohere in the past 4 months are invited to get to know one another, 10am
Wednesday 11/9: Night Coworking ‘Free for All’, 4p-10p
Thursday 11/10: Pancake Breakfast at Snooze: guided discussion on a set topic, 7:30am-8:30a
Friday 11/11: Frank Friday: show and tell us about a project you are working on OR get feedback on a business problem, 12p-1p

Got an idea for a neat Occupy Cohere event (can be planned any time)? Share it in a comment, or with Angel directly.

Image Credit: Flickr – shankbone

Upcoming Events + Cohere Closed on Monday

  • NoCoFAT always centers around the lounge at Cohere!

    Tonight is NoCoFAT from 5-8p! Join us for this casual monthly get together where we drink beverages and eat snacks and generally have a good time. Bring beverages/snacks to share.

  • Cohere is closed on Monday for the holiday.  Cohere will be open as usual on Tuesday the 7th.
  • Weds the 8th, Ignite tix go on sale at 9:25am.
  • Thursday starts with breakfast at Snooze at 7:30 am (time has been changed!) THEN
  • Suzanne’s Akinz Fall Preview is Thursday evening. Come support the hippest, local fashion designer and Cohere member by trying on all the new fall and SALE items before you buy. She’ll also have a “beanie creation station” where you can hand pick colors for a custom beanie!  Join us Thursday from 6p-9p at Cohere. Tell all your friends and bring your cash! Please RSVP via the Akinz link above.

Cohere’s Week

Cohere blows my mind almost daily but this week, in particular, stands out.

Tuesday: was the first day for Loveland Coworking.  Due to popular demand, Cohere sent Angel and member Cali to downtown Loveland to see what’s going on down there and if they might like coworking.  Do they ever!  We had 3 Lovelanders cowork for the first time with another 3 expressing interest in subsequent weeks.  This may not be an earth shattering number of coworkers to you but Fort Collins started with only four.  As member Julie Sutter pointed out, “they were the right four.”  And that’s all it takes.

Later in the day, Cali and I got a sneak peek of the Rialto Bridge Project.  A mixed use platform to attract and engage artists of all kinds in the heart of downtown Loveland.  Meanwhile, we found out that we were actually talking with the owner of the building that houses Artlab Loveland.  A behind the scenes tour of this cool space was fun and informative.  We now know more about the history and economic development of downtown Loveland than most.

Wednesday: was the first day for Night Coworking at Cohere.  Again, by popular demand, Cohere decided to stay open very late every Wednesday night.  We welcomed two new members, Kevin and Kristin.  Fun aside, Kristin got her work completed a full 4 hours earlier than normal, so I would call that a win.  We also discovered that Alex really can eat a large pizza on his own which is impressive considering his compact stature.  Check out that new plan: Night Owl Lite.

Thursday: Angel secured a donation of wireless internet for the future location of Loveland Coworking.  To be announced soon. In addition to this, sponsors and a local caterer were secured for Freelance Camp Fort Collins with more and more registrations coming in daily.

An idea born in Cohere’s conference room takes hold: Beth’s Coworking Across America project is getting lots of good attention, sponsors and donations of discounted passes and other delights.  Follow her progress as she RV’s across America stopping at coworking spaces all over the country and blogging all the while.

Friday: It’s hard to tell just how awesome Friday will be and what delightful surprises it will hold.

Overall Learnings: When things fall together logically and easily, just go with it.  It is right and good and wonderful.

Linchpins Igniting for Free

Yikes, the upcoming week at Cohere is nuts!  Here’s what we have in store this week.

Monday 6pm: Seth Godin’s worldwide Linchpin Event at Trebuchet Group.

Tuesday from 9am-5pm: Free Coworking Day at Cohere, includes a giant sandwich for lunch.

Wednesday: Catching up from Monday and Tuesday and prepping for Thursday and Friday.

Thursday at 6pm: Ignite Fort Collins.  Cohere is representing with Paul, Angel, Moriah and Reu taking the stage.

Friday at 12pm: #frankfriday lunch and learn Q&A with Attorney Christina Robertson.  Come ask questions about topics that are relevant to freelance.

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