The scent of coffee is noticeable as you walk through the door of this bright, colorful and modern-looking open space.
There’s a kitchen area with inviting bar-height seating and a pair of large stainless refrigerators. A popcorn maker and top-of-the-line coffee machine both sit on the countertop.
People in business casual attire meander from there to one of the three high-tech meeting rooms, their own office areas or what are called shared and designated desks in a general open area.
This is life at the coworking facility Venture X on the west end of Harlingen just off the Interstate. There’s a similar Venture X facility in Brownsville, too. Both have been operating for about a year.
Unlike locations such as San Antonio, for those in the Valley, the coworking space concept is relatively new. It has also taken some time to catch on. According to Venture X Harlingen community coordinator Nicole Valdez, it is fuzzy for people until they take a tour.
“They see the building, but they don’t know the concept,” Venture X digital marketing specialist Miranda Ruvalcaba says. “They think it is something completely different. Then they see it is modern, big, beautiful and different than what they thought.”
That’s why both women believe these coworking spaces are gaining steam in the lower Valley.
Fitting for various businesses
In Harlingen, medical billing businesses are the main clients now, while in Brownsville, there are several attorneys and maquiladoras using the coworking facility. Ruvalcaba says the shared desks at Venture X are perfect for graphic designers, marketers, advertising personnel, tech companies and photographers. The offices suit medical billing, human resources, attorneys and recruiters who need more privacy.
Overall, whatever your business may be, it seems to be a good option for those who may have found difficulties working at home or at another remote location.
For La Feria’s Lindsey Vavra, her move to a dedicated desk in the open area at Venture X Harlingen has improved her focus and production.
The owner of Full of Joy Photography for the past 14 years, Vavra says she feels more focused and is able to accomplish more than she was when she worked in her home office. She edits photos, and sends emails and billing statements. In the past, Vavra admits working out of public places such as Starbucks. She says she could never complete her work because of the distractions from people asking her questions about her work or equipment.
“This is a good atmosphere and just makes it easy to get things done and not get distracted by things that always need to be done at your home,” she says about working out of Venture X Harlingen. “I have gone back and forth over the years working from home and working in a separate place. This has been one of the best separate places. It keeps business life separated from home life.
Making connections at Venture X
Although her stint here has been just a few weeks, she plans to stay long term.
“I have met some people and ran into familiar faces and it has been nice,” Vavra says. “But everyone respects each other’s time.”
Valdez says networking is a key advantage and important to coworking spaces, and at Venture X there are businesses using each other’s services after developing relationships during lunch and other events.
“They get in touch with each other to get help and get connected,” Ruvalcaba says. “That is a big difference between home office and being here – the contacts and noticing everyone is working and that helps you not get distracted.”