ITHACA, N.Y. —A new Ithaca co-working space looks to foster both economic growth and political advocacy while giving small businesses the space and tools to thrive.

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“(My focus) is around social enterprise around how to help members here produce a successful, thriving business or non-profit that’s doing good for our community and our environment,” said Bob Rossi, founder of the CommonSpot.

The CommonSpot, which will officially launch on the Commons Friday, will offer members unlimited access to office and business facilities at a monthly rate. The space is intended to serve individuals and small groups with budding businesses, as well as those seeking networking opportunities and resources.

Photo courtesy of the CommonSpot Facebook page

The business is in a renovated second floor building on the Commons. It includes a large room of desks, a conference room, a kitchen and various multipurpose rooms.

“(Members) can throw an event in the big space. They can have a wine and cheese event overlooking the Commons. They can use the place any time of day. It’s open to them,” Rossi said. He added that non-members could rent parts of space on a separate cost schedule.

Rossi explained that he had traveled around the country observing how other similar businesses operated and succeeded before settling in Ithaca to take a job teaching at Ithaca College. He then began work on the project in early 2014. The enterprise looks to offers businesses not only the physical tools to succeed, but also to place its members into a community in which they can thrive.

(Other co-working spaces in Ithaca include Studio West, Stream Collaborative and Rev: Ithaca Startup Works, of which the Ithaca Voice is a member.)

Goals for the business extend beyond professional services., as Rossi hopes to build a community around a particular set of values, and is seeking members who share those values.

“My vision is a community of like-minded people, and I believe that will happen organically (…) I’m also actively pursuing the people who are very clearly doing great stuff in our community,” Rossi said.

There is no specific ideology to which members have to adhere, but he outlined a mindset that included environmentalist beliefs, and a desire to improve the community.

“I don’t need to try to create those values…a lot of it is just awareness building and having events that will foster the beliefs and values of the space,” Rossi said.

The CommonSpot, which had a soft open opening during the past several months, will have a ribbon cutting ceremony with the Downtown Ithaca Alliance at 12:45 p.m. on June 5, along with a gallery event from 5 to 8 p.m.


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Rubin Danberg Biggs

Rubin Danberg Biggs is an intern with the Ithaca Voice. He can be emailed at rdanbergbiggs@ithacavoice.com.