Tell us about Spark CoWork – when and why did you start it? What services do you offer businesses?
We launched Spark CoWork in December 2017 and have just celebrated the 5th birthday of our small business that is located at Salamander Bay (next door to KFC).
We started Spark after we met for coffee years ago to discuss a collaborative project in a local café. During the conversation we were both lamenting about the challenges of working from home such as having to deal with non-reliable internet, the difficulty of balancing work and home life, missing the social interactions an office offered and questioning the OH&S implications of using the ironing board as a stand-up desk! Given that we are both solutions-based people, we decided to seek a place that could provide a productive working environment that welcomed sole traders, consultants and entrepreneurs just like us!
Spark offers the convenience of an office environment without the overheads of having to rent or buy one. We are both plant lovers and enjoy having loads of them in our green space, as well as great air conditioning and tasteful artwork adorning the walls to make the space feel comfortable and inviting. Spark provides a convenient, modern, private and productive coworking space for people to get on and do what they have to do for work as efficiently and effectively as possible.
People can book a hot desk on a daily basis (up to 8 hours), casual basis (up to 3 days) or permanent basis (up to 5 days). Spark offers high speed and reliable internet, printing facilities, kitchenette, a private meeting room (caters for up to 8 people), lockers, smart TV and onsite amenities. Our community can choose to enjoy complimentary tea or coffee or purchase the proper stuff and a number of sweet treats from The Nook – who sublease the front of our space.
What plans do you have for 2023 and beyond – any new projects/collaborations?
Whilst we have a dedicated community of people who have been with us for quite a while now, I think this year we will continue to welcome more and more new people who have recently moved to the area. After COVID-19 we are finding that more companies are comfortable for their employees to work remotely – that has opened up new possibilities for people moving to regional areas like Port Stephens.
Not only does Spark offer facilities and amenities for these people, we also provide a welcoming environment where we help new people settle and adjust quickly – to feel like they belong relatively quickly and that provides peace of mind. We support our clients with local advice and recommendations, provide introductions and referrals to other business people and of course, support agencies and groups such as Business Port Stephens.
The other project that we will continue to offer our community this year is called Port Stephens Community Connect. This program allows us to support not for profit groups with free use of meeting and hot desk space. It’s the way we like to give back to our community and support the efforts of the wonderful work these groups do for our community.
Why did you choose to be a member of BPS? Are there any particular aspects that benefit your business the most?
We have been a member of Business Port Stephens since we opened in 2017 and value what the organization does for our business and the broader local economy. We subscribe to the saying “your business is our business” and we like to meet and learn about other businesses through the networking functions. We also appreciate the shared learnings and updates that BPS provides at their regular events such as introducing new businesses, providing information on rebates/grants that are available and providing advocacy services on our behalf.
Having conversations with other business owners about how they are finding the current environments, challenges and opportunities can be very inspiring, especially for a sole trader or small business. It is also nice to be able to help someone else if there are having challenges – this could be through connecting them to other businesses, introducing them to services or agencies that can help streamline business or simply asking them to support your business by learning more about it, providing a referral or buying from you.
We like the opportunity that our membership presents to work collaboratively with other businesses and the membership website provides an easy opportunity for us to “support and shop local”.
What do you like to do on your days off in Port Stephens?
We have such a beautiful, natural playground here in Port Stephens, it is hard not to get out and enjoy it on our days off. You will find us either walking in the national parks or swimming or boating, enjoying our stunning beaches and waterways. This year, I am particularly looking forward to the completion of the Tomaree Coastal walk so we can enjoy the longer treks with friends and family.
Shout out to your favourite local businesses: cafes, shops, services, activities – whatever!
Noble Barons – Naomi and her husband, Stu have a number of homebrew supply stores with retail stores in Newcastle, Port Stephens and The Hunter Valley and an online store too! (shipping Australia wide). Check them out here https://www.newcastlebrewshop.com/
Anna Bay Coastal Cars – Beck and her husband, Bicci run a car concierge service in Anna Bay selling and sourcing second hand cars for people around the country. Check out their services here https://www.abccars.com.au/
The Nook Expresso – for all of your coffee and sweet treat needs, we highly recommend Lyle and his stella crew at The Nook. Located next to KFC in Salamander Bay, we love the fact you can ring through your order, drive in and pick up if you’re time poor or if not, take a seat and have a natter whilst enjoying your cuppa. We think it’s a wonderful way to start the day but don’t just take our word for it – just check out their reviews! https://thenookespresso.com.au/HSfc
Shop 2/ 270 Sandy Point Rd, Salamander Bay NSW 2317
02 4058 1988