A collaborative workspace designed to engage the community in both work and play is coming soon to downtown Fayetteville. Likewise – the brainchild of business owners and artists Zac Trout and Mallory Berry – is a proposed collaborative coworking space full of amenities where the Fayetteville community can work, dine and play. Proposed plans for the space include the development of art studios, maker spaces, event spaces, workspaces, a café, a speakeasy and so much more.
The idea for the space came to Trout and Berry out of necessity. They both found themselves in need of a flexible place where they could work and collaborate with others. So, they decided to create their own.
“After years of working as a freelancer, I’ve worked from home, coffee shops, libraries and anywhere else I could maintain a little bit of focus,” Trout said. “However, as much as I love the local coffee shops, they were always too social to get much work done. Home was too comfortable to stay driven and not a great place to meet clients. Libraries were great for focus, but not for conversation. I needed somewhere flexible, something different than what each of these places had to offer.
“I wanted the benefits of being able to connect and collaborate with others, yet still be able to focus without distractions when need be,” he added. “I had been tossing around the idea of starting up a sort of freelance collective with 3 to 4 people, renting out an office together, and collaborating on projects that we could handle as a team. Then around two years ago, I learned about coworking, and it sounded even better than what I’d already envisioned. The concept took over my thoughts, and I knew it was something that Fayetteville could desperately benefit from. Not long after, I was introduced to Mallory, and it turns out that our vision was very much aligned.”
Berry added, “As a business owner and photographer I’ve split time for nearly a decade between Fayetteville and Chicago, using public, shared and temporary spaces when traveling. As I’ve watched my industry and others shift to remote work and home officing, it has become clear our area lacks access to flexible, occasional use spaces. Cafes have no environmental control; studios can be high overhead with lengthy terms. There is a growing need — in Fayetteville specifically — for photography studios, offices and flex space with natural light, historic structure and raw aesthetic. Such a vibrant community deserves an inspiring place to foster collaboration among professionals, freelancers and artists.”
In Likewise, the pair hope to be able to provide the community with an atmosphere and resources. And it’s not just limited to business professionals, artists or makers.
“We want not only to provide resources for workers but for the community,” Berry said. “With ample greenery, an open floor plan and variety of atmospheres, the space will be easily flexed to accommodate a variety of events across industries. A clean design will showcase the regional art and brands housed within. Making use of glass and natural woods, we want to establish transparent privacy, with consideration to light and volume throughout. With both lounge and recreation areas, we hope to encourage work-life balance and overall wellness. All while maintaining the inspired, independent heart that keeps us each so drawn to Fayetteville.” What Likewise will not be, according to Trout, is just another office space for rent.
“We knew it needed to feel welcoming and vibrant but have places where people could collaborate, focus and get creative,” he said. “The space should be warm and inviting, full of life and welcome to the public but full of amenities for its paying members. Plans include a mix of food and beverage vendors, retail and cafe seating, with long term plans to extend onto a full rooftop deck with community gardens.”
Trout highlighted the surge of people working in coworking spaces across the United States as an indicator of the need for spaces like Likewise, with that number expected to rise from 542,000 in 2017 to 1.08 million in 2022.
“With that massive transition comes a need for flexible office space,” he said. “With this space, we aim to provide a much-needed amenity to the public with all of the best resources available to its members. However, this space will be more than a place to get work done. At its heart, Likewise is a space for the community. We will provide a platform for conversation on current issues by hosting events, fundraisers and many other things for the community.”
According to Berry, Likewise will be an inclusive space that spans both coworkers and cultures and helps to connect members of the community. “Our passion is to help share connected, more symbiotic urban mentalities — shared amenities, decreased footprints, communal spaces,” she said. “We want to encourage mindfulness, waste consciousness and environmentally friendly practices. We hope to provide a space where members can have cooked meals, fresh foods or a place to shower. Monthly leases can suit freelancers or startups, while longer options will accommodate established companies.
“Most importantly, we want to create an inclusive space that spans coworkers and cultures,” Berry adds. “A place full of amenities, easily accessible by bike, on foot or via transit. With future plans for a rooftop buildout, we hope to offer access to downtown greenspace & community gardens — contributing to an even more vibrant downtown for both visitors & locals alike.”
And because Likewise will be designed for the community, Trout and Berry are seeking the community’s input. They are asking working professionals to help them by filling out an interest form as well as a workplace questionnaire so they can best accommodate the needs of those who stand to benefit from Likewise.
“Likewise is a community space,” Trout said. “With every decision we make, it is important that we’re listening to the people that make NWA what it is. Without the community’s feedback, this is simply something that we want to do.”
Berry added, “We want to collect feedback across industries to help us design a multifaceted workspace that will meet a variety of needs,” Berry said. “The core of this concept is community dialogue — we hope the community will continue this conversation and help us be a part of creating the best future for Northwest Arkansas.” Likewise is finalizing negotiations on their new space, and are excited to announce the downtown Fayetteville location as soon as plans are finished.
Anyone interested in being a member of Likewise is encouraged to fill out the interest form here.
Interested parties can also help Trout and Berry better understand the professional landscape of Northwest Arkansas by filling out their workplace questionnaire here.
For more information on Likewise, visit the website where you can also book a tour of the proposed space.
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