Have it at HABco! Near the end of my 50+ minute conversation with friends, collaborators, and small business owners Jessica Fike and Sarah Myers, Jessica excitedly exclaimed "Have it at HABco!" And that's exactly what they want you to do. The founders of new Garrett County small business, HABco are ready to welcome you! If you need a spot for an event, a meeting (large or small), a quiet workspace, an educational experience, or anything else you can imagine, you can have it-at HABco.
BORN IN THE RAIN
HABco was born in September 2017 when 2 Garrett County, Maryland business owners (photographer Jessica Fike and marketer/serial entrepreneur Sarah Myers) found themselves locked in conversation about an innovative idea they discovered both having strong interest in bringing to our community: a coworking space. Not an entirely new concept, companies like WeWork have been providing coworking solutions to more populated areas of the US since as early as 2008. Here in the Deep Creek Lake Area, the Garrett Information Enterprise Center (GIEC) at Garrett College has offered The Hive as a coworking space for locals and visitors alike. HABco has taken a different approach than what's currently available by offering a comfortable space that's ideal not only for coworking but also for other professional, community, or social "happier hour" events (HABco is set up for BYOB for events!).
ABOUT THE LEADERS
Sarah Myers is a Garrett County native and graduate of Southern Garrett County High School. For many years, she held a position at Garrett College, working alongside some folks who were very influential in her move to becoming a small business owner. She currently owns Curb Appeal Marketing, Deep Creek Times (along with her mentor Mike Tumbarello), the The Deep Creek Wedding, and now HABco. Jessica Fike is originally from Connellsville, PA. Now a Garrett County resident, she lives here with her husband Brian (who Sarah used to annihilate with NERF guns at Christmas parties- clearly the Sarah/Jessica duo was set in the stars long ago) and their 3 children. Jessica is a full time photographer who focuses most of her talents on weddings, engagements, and family sessions. Check out her incredible work: Jessica Fike Photography. She is also the founder of the Garrett County Wedding Professionals. Both Sarah and Jessica (who should get a HABco pet named Parker) are driven young women with energentic community spirit. Their vision is exciting and together they are doing amazing things. I am proud to call these women my friends!
Sarah and I work very closely together through our marketing roles with Coldwell Banker Deep Creek Realty. I have to veer the conversation for a hot second. // Last summer Sarah and I worked together on the first annual Oakland Downtown Jubilee. She is an amazing partner in everything we work on and I am better for having the opportunity to work alongside her. // She first told me about HABco soon after she and Jessica were ready to start looking for a space. I made some suggestions on spaces that might work, though nothing that was readily available seemed to fit their vision. Ultimately, they landed at a superb location just minutes from Deep Creek Lake. When I asked during the interview what roadblocks they experienced in bringing this concept to life, finding the space was the first thing they mentioned. Jessica said "We got all of these different places to consider... so I think that presented it's own challenge of: oh wow! There are a lot of options. Which one do we choose? Which one is going to be right?" As they considered their opportunities, they touched down in an unlikely place, the spot where the HABco idea first began to take flight. "We landed here at Farmhouse Fete because, while Leigh Clarke (Farmhouse Fete and Chanteclaire Farm owner) uses the space for bridal consultations, she shared the vision of a coworking space near Deep Creek Lake." says Sarah. It's been the perfect spot for the owners to test the concept and gauge interest while keeping it all affordable. Jessica started a thought "We knew that this would be an affordable place for us, but at the same time be..." "Intentionally designed!" Sarah exclaimed. Yes, they finish each others sentences, it's perfect, just need Parker...
Hot Air Balloon Explained
When I asked where the catchy name came from, Sarah explained. "HABco stands for hot air balloon coworking. We thought, what symbolizes dreaming big dreams, creating, color? We came up with a hot air balloon to represent what we're trying to do, to raise the community up, to dream big dreams, and make travels. We shortened it to HABco because it sounds like habitat and we liked that association. Creatives need a habitat here in Garrett County." Jessica explained that there were some that didn't think the name was right for the vision. "Some people told us No! HABco won't work, that name won't work!" While the women appreciated the feedback, they remained confident in their vision. They spoke with Hannah Sickles of Dainty Daisy Designs to have their logo hand drawn. The blend of creativity and professionalism is exactly what they had in mind. It's beautiful and memorable, great job Hannah!
The Mission. The Vision.
Sarah and Jessica attended a marketing summit at St. Vincent College in Latrobe, Pennsylvania on November 3, 2017. With 3 hours in the car, they had plenty of time to discuss things like their official mission. The mission of HABco is "to provide an accessible coworking and shareable forum for entrepreneurs, creatives, and community leaders in the Deep Creek Lake Area." The vision "is to bring Mountain Maryland together to educate, inspire, and collaborate."
Connections - Its Working!
"Alone we are smart, but together we are brilliant." - Steven W. Anderson
My first experience inside this new adventure was at HABco's inaugural event, Morning Mojo. A group of folks ventured out bright and early on a Monday morning to learn about this fresh idea and gathered inside the yellow building at 1272 Friendsville Road, Friendsville, MD 21531 to see what it was all about. The quote from Steven W. Anderson was the theme for that event, and is the core of this concept. HABco wants to bring people together, to inspire, and to collaborate. And it's happening! I suppose I've earned myself the title of regular... I've visited HABco for several functions including the above referenced Morning Mojo, several coworking sessions, and even private events. And I was this (picture me holding my fingers really close together) close to attending an awesome Lunch N Learn. I was literally pacing on the porch as the event started, on a phone call for a real estate deal that required immediate attention. Having missed the first 20 minutes while on the phone, I decided to scrap my attendance, but I WILL be at the next one! Each time I've stepped inside of the yellow building, I've made a connection, discovered an idea, or been inspired through conversation. I've met and formed connections with real estate and portrait photographers, community leaders, marketers, designers, and other extraordinary people! And I've had important conversations with friends and connections I've had for a long time. It has been incredibly meaningful to the growth of my business. If you haven't visited this awesome space yet, you must put their next event on your calendar. While I was at HABco talking with Sarah and Jessica about this blog post, quite a few folks came through the doors and formed connections that are already resulting in referrals and projects to come. Among the most notable connections was that of Kendall Ludwig of CurlyRed and Kassy Cosner of Healthy Living Mamas and Homegrown Digital Co.
Only the Beginning...
Sure, Sarah and Jessica have dreams of a space all their own, with big beautiful windows and a deck that looks out over Deep Creek Lake. And someday, I know they will get there! They told me that right now they're in a great situation. A designedly chic space, it's very nice with a pleasing floor plan, several semiprivate offices, and most importantly, high speed internet.
Community is the heart of the HABco. While discussing their search for the perfect space, Sarah said "I was really impressed with the community rallying around us. We had some really great connections say, what do you want? What do you need? We'll try to make it happen for you."
Plan to be There
HABco's next event is a really good one. "In collaboration with area photographer Melissa Gaglio of Farfalla Photography, HABco is offering a headshots event for just $25! Spend up to 10 minutes smiling for the camera and receive 5 digital images in return. You can also do some coworking before and after your headshot session and we'll have some light refreshments." The event will be held on Tuesday, January 23 from 3-7pm. I just confirmed my reservation. Stay hip to upcoming events and all HABco news by following their Facebook and Instagram. I hope to see you at this event and many to follow at HABco!