Racine event venue adds co-working space

The Branch targets entrepreneurs and startups

Some of the new desk space at The Branch at 1501.

Racine event venue The Branch at 1501 is adding co-working space to its list of offerings.

Some of the new desk space at The Branch at 1501.

The Branch, located at 1501 Washington Ave. in Racine, is a 6,000-square-foot café during the day, and an event venue by night. It opened about a year-and-a-half ago, and each week hosts two to three private events, such as holiday parties and weddings.

The co-working space would only have weekday daytime hours from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., with open seating in the café, two dedicated conference rooms and a few private desk areas in vaults (the building was originally built in 1923 for Amercian Bank and Trust Co.), said Kristina Campbell, owner of The Branch. There is also a printer and conferencing equipment.

Campbell plans to charge for membership on a two-tier system, at $25 for open seating and $50 for dedicated space. The cafe will still be open to the public, with free wifi, for those who aren’t members.

“We are trying to grow the community in the area, so we’re opening it up to small businesses so they can have a space to work out of,” she said. “It’s been organically happening on its own, so we thought it would be a good fit for adding to the community. We get a lot of people who come in as regulars and start networking.”

The Branch at 1501 has added a co-working space.

She’s offering free membership in December to test out the concept and get feedback from members, Campbell said. Among those she’s recruiting are the former members of the LaunchBox co-working space in Racine, which closed in August.

“I plan on working with the people that are needing a space for their business and seeing what makes it productive for them,” Campbell said.

The hope is also to help revitalize the Uptown area of Racine where The Branch is located, Campbell said. She expects to start with about 20 members.

“We’ll be working on some different networking events throughout the year, trying to grow that and hopefully incubating some businesses that can grow across the street into one of the vacant buildings,” she said.

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Molly Dill
Molly Dill, former BizTimes Milwaukee managing editor.