Champagne sat in glasses surrounded by sparkling white walls and empty desks as Campus Coworking celebrated its grand opening Thursday afternoon.
Dozens of local entrepreneurs and members of the Jefferson City Area Chamber of Commerce filled the space and toasted the opening of the new coworking center. As she stood next to a table in the front of the space, Campus Coworking co-founder Missy Creed could already see her vision taking shape.
"It's the start of the community," Creed said. "Eating meals together, grabbing lunch together, bouncing ideas around."
Creed and co-founder Sarah Bohl began the project in November 2017 with the goal of giving local Jefferson City startups and entrepreneurs a place to gather and work. At first, they hoped to open the space in the much larger JCD Building near the intersection of U.S. 50 and U.S. 54.
Later, they found the former home of Scene One Theater at 619 E. Capitol Ave. better fit their needs. Over the past month, Creed and Bohl replaced the space's old drab black paint with sparkling white paint and cherry wood accents.
A large glass door greets visitors. A wall in the foyer previously prevented natural light from flooding the space so Creed and Bohl tore it out, leaving the concrete floor that gives the space the industrial look they wanted.
Campus Coworking opened Jan. 1, but did not hold its grand opening until Thursday because Bohl and Creed needed to finish the renovation over the last 10 days. Bohl said construction finished right on time.
The month-long sprint to transform the space culminated in a day where 20 of Creed's and Bohl's friends and family members spent a Saturday painting and putting tables together.
"It was a crazy day, but it was fun," Bohl said.
Five people have memberships right now. Bohl said they hope 30-40 members will eventually use the space.
In all, it has six offices members can rent, two conference rooms, 12 permanent desks and room for other coworking members without permanent desks.
Those interested can buy various levels of memberships: those with or without 24-hour access, memberships with a permanent desk or memberships with an office.
Creed and Bohl tried to cram as many things as an entrepreneur could imagine into the 5,000-square-foot space. A lounge occupies one room, while a standing desk donated by Capital Region Medical Center sits in one part of the space.
A small retail section at the front of the space has popcorn, coffee and other goodies techies need to make it through the day.
Already, the pair hope it will become a gathering spot for local entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurial support group 1 Million Cups-Jefferson City moved its monthly meeting from The Linc Wellness Center to Campus Coworking in January.
Now, only minor details remain to be finished. The pair wants to find more artwork to put on the walls and more desks still need to be assembled.
Creed also owns digital marketing startup Dogwood Social and the blog Jeffcityblog.com. Bohl, a former teacher, works for Dogwood Social and also helps Creed run Jeff City Blog.
With their attention divided between several endeavors, Bohl said they hope that after the business is established in Jefferson City, it will take up less of their time.
"Once we get going, we'll be able to do this and do other things," Bohl said. "We're partners so we can help each other do multiple things."