CoCo Rebranding as Fueled Collective in Bid to Franchise Their Concept Nationally
The working space owned by CoCo (now Fueled Collective) in the former Grain Exchange in Minneapolis.

CoCo Rebranding as Fueled Collective in Bid to Franchise Their Concept Nationally

The local co-working operators and their partners believe the new venture could lead to the creation of up to 250 Fueled Collective locations across the country.

Go big or go home? Maybe that should be co-big or go home.

Minneapolis-based co-working operators CoCo are partners in a newly launched national co-working franchise concept called Fueled Collective. The partners in the venture see the potential for as many as 250 Fueled Collective locations across the U.S.

CoCo will remain locally owned and operated, but will be renamed Fueled Collective. CoCo co-founders Don Ball and Kyle Coolbroth are shareholders in the new franchise venture with Cincinnati-based St. Gregory Development Group, a franchise development firm, and Ramet Chawla, who opened the first Fueled Collective location in New York in 2012.

The grand opening for the Fueled Collective location in Cincinnati is today. Ball said that the Cincinnati outlet is the “prototype space” for the franchise model. Ball added that the franchise concept is a way for aspiring operators to “buy the blueprints” for opening a Fueled Collective franchise. The Fueled Collective model looks to combine co-working with a social club with evening events.

St. Gregory Development Group was a partner in the Cincinnati-based CycleBar, a fast-growing indoor cycling studio concept. A September 2017 press release about Fort Worth, Texas and San Francisco-based private equity firm TPG Growth investing in CycleBar indicated that it was on target to have 150 locations by the end of 2017 with another 200 in development. (There are currently Minnesota CycleBar locations in Minneapolis and Woodbury, with another slated to open in Minnetonka.)

Meanwhile, the co-working wars are heating up in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area. New York-based WeWork — an industry giant with 287 current office locations in 59 cities across the globe — opened a 53,000-square-foot space in Capella Tower in the heart of downtown Minneapolis in October. WeWork has also signed a lease for a space in the MoZaic East office building in the Uptown area of south Minneapolis. (MoZaic East is currently under construction and slated for completion in late 2018.)

But Ball told Twin Cities Business that conversations about the franchise idea started two years ago, before the big influx of national players here.

“They approached us, they saw a lot of potential in co-working,” Ball said of the St. Gregory Development Group. “We started this two years ago when we had no other major competition.”

CoCo co-founders Ball and Coolbroth are the godfathers of co-working in the Twin Cities. When they opened their first location in the Lowertown area of downtown St. Paul in 2010, there was nothing else like it in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area. CoCo now has four Twin Cities locations including outlets in downtown, Uptown, and Northeast Minneapolis. CoCo expanded to Chicago in 2016 with the acquisition of Enerspace Chicago in the West Loop area; that became CoCo’s fifth location.

Co-working offices offer creative, collaborative spaces for freelancers, entrepreneurs and others to work in a shared space. Users buy “memberships” based on how often they want to be able to use co-working space. Twin Cities Business magazine recently surveyed the expanding co-working market in the Twin Cities.

A recent report from the local office of Chicago-based Cushman and Wakefield, a commercial real estate services firm, tallied 20 operators in the metro offering about 635,000 square feet of co-working office space. But that number is a moving target as new co-working office environments keep opening

The new ModernWell co-working space just opened in Minneapolis on January 2. What makes ModernWell different? It caters exclusively to women.

“We are women-centered cooperative work space,” said Julie Burton, founder of ModernWell. “But our core mission is wellness…All members get five yoga classes a week included in their membership.”

Burton says that the five private offices in the 5,200-square-foot space have all been rented and only one of the six designated desks remains available. After being open just a matter of weeks, Burton is pleased with the early response.

“Things are going well,” Burton told Twin Cities Business. “We’re just shy of about 70 members and growing.”