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Work Petaluma adds more co-working office spaces

Entrepreneurs, freelancers and telecommuters now have more incentive to get out of their home offices and leave their kitchen table desks behind.

Work Petaluma, the popular co-working space in downtown Petaluma, has expanded to another location up the street and across from Penry Park at 245 Kentucky Ave. Instead of the open floor plan desks and group tables that make up the downtown space, Uptown offers private offices complete with ergonomic office chairs, motorized standing desks, high-speed internet and 24/7 key card access. The mid-century-modern styled spaces were created by Natasha Juliana, an architect who, with her husband, Matt Moler, was inspired to start WORK Petaluma after hearing an NPR story about co-working.

The building that houses Uptown is owned by artist and Bloomfield resident Veva Edelson and her partner, Karel Sidorjak. Juliana worked with Edelson to redesign the space and they decided to take advantage of the expansive white walls to showcase local artists. Like the downtown location, which helps creates relationships and networks for members through professional development workshops, coffee socials and even a company picnic, Uptown also offers a space for the community to gather. Public receptions and discussions with each featured artist will be held (and open to the public) every six months as the artwork rotates through the gallery. The mesmerizing aerial photographic series “Conduits” by Thomas Heinser, a German-born artist who lives just outside of Petaluma, is on display. In late September, Santa Rosa-raised sculptor Malena Lopez-Maggi will be featured.

A gallery space for free-thinking artists seems an appropriate match for Work, which has provided quiet, comfortable and interactive work environments for people who reflect the eclectic and creative workforce in the North Bay. Members range from writers and IT professionals to solar energy entrepreneurs, map-makers, tutors and employees of a grass-fed beef company.

“One of the things I love about Work is that I feel like I’m back at university,” Juliana said. “I get exposed to varying different perspective and fields - everybody that’s hiding out in the woodwork with their fascinating talents.”

Juliana said they did not consciously set out to be a business incubator, but the services they provide to freelancers and startups have become steppingstones for many successful businesses. For example, Petaluma resident Rick Whisman started a small solar company in 2015, using the downtown space and eventually, his four-person team became the first to move to Uptown. They have now moved into their own office across the street.

The private offices at Uptown, said Juliana, are a great way for companies that are just starting out to have offices without leases or the need to buy furniture. Juliana also explained that more and more people recognize the personal and environmental benefits of a shorter commute, but they also want to avoid the pitfalls of working from a cafe (too much coffee) or the isolation of working at home (asking your cat for advice). Ultimately, she said, co-working spaces allow people to get off the freeway and “enjoy the fabulous town they live in.”

For more information about WORK Petaluma and events at the Uptown and Downtown locations visit workpetaluma.com.

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