RALEIGH – Clark Rinehart, community director at Loading Dock Raleigh, provides an update in a Q&A with WRAL TechWire.
- What’s Loading Dock’s membership looking like these days? How does it compare to years past?
In 2019, we grew from one primary location, at Dock 1053, to 3 locations (Boylan and Prince Hall) with more growth on the way for 2020 and 2021 (in Wake County). With that strategic growth around Raleigh, we have seen membership increase quite a bit. (Side note: we were at capacity at Dock 1053 for quite awhile before expanding).
As of January 2020, we have 375 active members with more signing in February 2020. And, we currently manage 32,400 SQFT of coworking, office and event space (roughly 9000 SQFT of co-warehousing in addition to that).
- How has Loading Dock been impacted by the increase of co-working spaces in the region?
In my opinion, it has provided more awareness for co-working and shared workspaces in the region. So, it has been largely positive for us. The landscape of co-working is very competitive in the Triangle, but we’re also positioning ourselves to be a different kind of workspace for more types of people. In particular, we are working to ensure that co-working isn’t exclusively correlated with tech companies.
There are so many incredible entrepreneurs across the region and state that have felt excluded, for whatever reason, from co-working spaces because they don’t consider themselves “techies”. We know that we can help support and grow their businesses as well.
- Has Loading Dock had to have any layoffs? Or make new hires?
With the strategic growth that we have seen over the last 2 years, we have had to add to our team. For a long time, we were understaffed, so we’re playing catch-up to ensure everyone has the support that they need.
We will add more positions in 2020.
- Do you feel like the market is saturated yet with co-working spaces?
I don’t personally feel like the market is saturated for co-working spaces yet. There are still several areas of the city, even outside of Raleigh proper, that are in need of collaborative spaces where connections can be made, both people-to-people and business-to-business. I don’t foresee the bigger box players heading to those areas, so I think those are opportunities for the local players to grow our ecosystem and connect the business and social fabric of the city.
- Heading into a new decade, how would you rate the startup scene in the Triangle at the moment?
I think the startup is thriving, but there are significant gaps. We have to do a better job of connecting the region through asset mapping. I’m fortunate to meet incredible people doing amazing work in our region through Loading Dock, but, oftentimes, these people don’t know each other. That’s a significant problem for a region our size. In order for us to grow and elevate the startup scene, we have to connect resources. We’re better together.