I did not know what to expect when visiting Rhode Island and my first coworking space outside of the south. Having never been further than New York City, I am now officially the furthest north I have ever been.
It took about 19 hours to travel from Kiawah Island, South Carolina to The Hive in North Kingstown, Rhode Island.
Where is it?
At first glance, I saw a very large building that looked like an old mill. It was impressive but also surprising and unexpected.
After more research, I discovered that The Mill at Lafayette was built in 1877 and not only contains The Hive, but also has affordable offices for growing businesses that need more space.
I am always a sucker for a place with historical significance, so from the beginning, The Hive, was off to a great start.
Initially, I pulled into the front parking lot and, unsure where to go, I walked around the front and tried to enter a different building that turned out to be some sort of a workshop.
Not too much later, I found The Hive in the back corner of the building!
One of the first things you notice when pulling up to The Hive is there is a waterfall!
Before arriving, I had connected with Tuni Schartner, the director of The Hive and Rhode Island’s Economic Gardener, to arrange a place to stay (The Clubhouse) and work (The Hive, of course). She also had given me access to the WiFi which is always important. The major needs have been solved!
Tuni was at an event the afternoon I arrived. Since it was a Sunday and most people do not come in to work on Sundays, I had the office to myself to unwind, get settled, and relax.
From the art on the wall to the exposed brick and high ceilings, I immediately liked the general look and feel of the space. I also liked that the owners had created a place that could run events that not only support their coworkers, but also help to bring them together. I loved all of this.
Later that evening, she came by The Hive, said hello, and dropped off a half-dozen clam cakes. They were delicious!
That simple, thoughtful gesture was an example of the impression I already had of Tuni from our brief conversations and emails. She is extremely giving and was willing to help out a complete stranger and make sure I had a wonderful experience, not only in the space she helped create, but also in the town she loves.
Not that this post is about Tuni specifically, however, I definitely notice when someone goes above and beyond to help. As a coworker looking for a space to work, this would be important for me to know.
Her passion for helping others and growing a community can also be seen in The Hive.
Filled with art work, business cards, comfy couches and chairs, The Hive is quite comfortable and a place I could definitely see myself working.
Besides a place to work, Tuni was also able to find me a home (The Clubhouse) to stay for the week further enriching my experience by helping me to integrate into the community and the area. Typically, I do not plan to write about the places that I am staying for the week. However, the Clubhouse is a special case.
This is my home for the week!
And the view!
I’m staying in the beautiful home of The Momentum Club in Rhode Island which was founded by Michelle Girasole and Bob Salvas. The Momentum Club is a network of people and businesses looking to build momentum within their business through continual learning and advice from a group of like minded business people.
As Tuni describes, The Hive and The Momentum Club are extensions of each other and not competitors.
Tuni and Michelle are great friends and this location was Tuni’s first suggestion for where I should stay. Michelle also used to be a coworker at The Hive! Even when she left the actual space, she remained a part of the strong community.
Even though Tuni and Michelle are providing different solutions to businesses and people in the area, they see themselves as family as they converge and cross-pollinate (pun intended).
Apparently, this is not an uncommon relationship. The Rhode Island small business community looks to continually support each other. Organizations throughout the state understand they can not be everything to everyone and extend referrals to other businesses that would be a better fit.
I see it as a huge positive that The Hive and the people associated with it stretch to include other organizations that can help grow businesses. Together they can increase the chance of success for everyone. People seem to believe they are all in this together.
Thank you again, Tuni and Michelle, for opening up this place for me to stay and experience. I have no doubt your hospitality will help me feel at home.
As I work at The Hive throughout the week, I will be meeting coworkers, spending time with them, exploring the area of North Kingstown, and writing about all of it. In addition, at the end of the week, I will be posting a more in-depth article about my overall experience in the space and the community.