By Collin Kelley

Co-working has become a new buzzword in the business startup world, but what does it mean? Walk into the loft-like space of Ignition Alley and you’ll get some idea.

Individuals and teams are scattered among the workspaces in the open concept office, located in an old storefront and storage space on Somerset Terrace in the Poncey-Highland neighborhood. Laptops are ubiquitous, there’s a sitting area with bookcases, a small kitchen. Next door is the “quiet space,” where it’s still open concept, but individuals work quietly at dedicated desk space.

With rent skyrocketing and many small business owners working from home, Ignition Alley offers an “office” for as little as $35 per month. While you’re there, you can interact with other business people, share ideas, network or even start a new business. Members have access to a conference room, training space, wi-fi, printers, lockers and more. It’s like having an office, but without the overhead.

Co-founders and Georgia Tech graduates Tim Dorr and Mike Schinkel started collaborating on a co-working space during a chance meeting at a coffee shop in June. Dorr’s company, A Small Orange, will occupy a quiet corner of the space paving the way for the financial feasibility of the facility.

“I’d been either working from home or at Octane Coffee,” Dorr said. “I met other small business owners doing the same and became aware that there was need for a physical space and a collaborative environment.”

Schinkel, a tech entrepreneur who runs the popular Atlanta Web Entrepreneurs group has been evangelizing co-working for a couple of years. He saw the need for a space in Atlanta where people could cultivate a community and have meet-ups that serve that community. “The value of a co-working space extends beyond its physical structure. It’s a way to connect bright, energetic people who can learn and accomplish more together than they could alone,” said Schinkel.

Not letting any grass grow under their feet, Dorr and Schinkel found the Somerset Terrace building in just a few weeks, had it renovated and now have more than 65 members – including an art dealer and a small company that sells fresh fruit – using the space on a regular basis. “We can comfortably accommodate 150 to 200 members,” Dorr said.

The co-working concept has been gathering steam in Atlanta’s startup community for the past couple of years and several facilities have opened outside of the city but Ignition Alley is the first to open Intown. Dorr envisions eventually opening satellite offices in Buckhead, Decatur and the northside of the city.

For more about Ignition Alley, visit www.ignitionalley.com or follow them on Twitter @IgnitionAlley.

Collin Kelley

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.