Shared works spaces: Perham's first co-working space opens

As more people start to work remotely, the growing trend of co-working spaces has come to the Perham area.

New entrepreneur Maggie Fresonke in the main workspace of Cove Co-working. (Submitted photo)

The need for workspaces outside of traditional office settings has been a growing need as more people have started working virtually or out of their homes. In a need to help keep the divide between people’s personal and professional time, the concepts of co-working and flex desks have been a growing trend -- a trend that Perham has now joined as the town’s first co-working space opened in July.

“Co-working has been an international phenomenon,” Maggie Fresonke, the owner of Cove Co-working, Perham’s new co-working place and Population Health Coordinator at Perham Health, said. “There are spaces all over the world. When I was researching it, I asked why is this not here?”

Fresonke said the idea started in January 2020, after a Well Collective, a group of Lakes Area women business owners and leaders, event where she learned about the concept. With the support of the collective, Fresonke started out on her first adventure in entrepreneurship by opening Cove.

In the short time, the co-working space has been opened, it has steadily been gaining members. Currently, there are over 40 community members, who are on a free email list to receive updates about Cove, and about 10 members who come in regularly, Fresonke said. Most of the members are from outside of Perham.

Cove, at 157 First Ave. S., is 100% automated, Fresonke said. To use the space members can go online to sign up for different levels of use.


“You could do a daily drop-in for $20 or you can do a part-time membership for $100 a month and it gets you like two times a week,” Fresonke said. "Or you can do a full-time membership which is 24/7, 365 at $180 a month.”

After members sign up and pay for their membership, “there is an app that you use within 100 feet and click the key to open the door,” Fresonke said. “Your user name and password will also get you access to the WIFI.”

Once members are in, they are able to hop into an open flex desk, login into the WIFI, and start working. Members also have access to the kitchenette, full printing, water, and coffee, Fresonke said. The conference room is also rentable by the hour so people or groups can also sign up to hold a meeting at Cove.

With the pandemic allowing Chalsey Falk, associate creative director at Rescue Agency in San Diego and a freelance designer and illustrator, to work remotely indefinitely having the option to work from Cove has been a positive experience.

"It's been really good overall," Falk said. "I've used the space for about two months."

Falk said in those two months, she was in the co-working space every day. Now she has a home office set up she does not need the space on a daily basis. "If I go back to Cove, it will be if the power goes out, any sort of internet issues, or if it's too noisy or any sort of work distraction."

The whole process of signing up and understanding how the space, app and the amenities of the space were well explained Falk said. "It was easy and nicely spaced out. She (Fresonke) has masks and sanitizer by the door," she said.

While it is not safe or responsible to do at the moment with the COVID-19 pandemic, once things are safe again Cove will also be able to be used for events, Fresonke said. She said booked events will be given their own WIFI so that the problem of someone at the event not being a member will not be an issue.


Fresonke said members who have been using the space have been very respectful about the shared space. She said the members have helped keep the co-working space clean and been following the COVID-19 safety guidelines by wearing their masks and keeping social distance.

"Things have moved a little bit slower than I would expect then to and things have cost more with the slowing down of things. But it's a ride," Fresonke said.

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