Story and photos by Kaitlin Wasik

It’s been one year since The Commons on Champa opened its doors, venturing to become Denver’s “public campus for entrepreneurship.” A venue filled with workspace, conference rooms, event space and offices for rent, you never know what you’ll find when you enter the doors at 13th and Champa.

Is there a panel of entrepreneurs giving a lunch hour talk? A workshop on how to pitch your business idea? A job fair filled with Denver-based organizations? The sky’s the limit!

Not only does The Commons host productive and educational events, but the majority of their events are free and completely open to the public. It’s easy to find workshops and programs to support starting a new business in Denver if you have money to spare, but The Commons on Champa wants to make these tools accessible for everyone.

The Commons open workspace, free to anyone in the community.

The Commons open workspace, free to anyone in the community.

My field trip to The Commons on Champa confirmed that this is a place to go if you want to get work done while being inspired and energized. The space is welcoming and bright, filled with natural light, local artwork, a variety of furniture and technology and bonus: free Wi-Fi and coffee. The Commons staff is eager to assist you and make you aware of the many resources available, and other users are excited to share the projects they’re working on.

Get Outfitted

I quickly met Paul Grever, Software Engineer for Colorado Spring-based company Get Outfitted, who frequents the free workspace at The Commons on Champa. As a Denver resident, he enjoys having a space to work from without commuting to Colorado Springs every day.

“It’s great for people working remotely. The people are friendly and it’s a nice opportunity for networking,” Grever shares.

Get Outfitted has initiated a perfect model for the active-minded, newly transplanted Coloradan. They’re an outdoor gear rental company. Get Outfitted has an inventory ranging from winter clothing, skis and snowboards, to kayaks, tents, backpacks and mountain bikes. They even have vintage onesies so you can join in the themed ski days without investing in an outfit you’ll only wear once!

Entering their third year on the market, Get Outfitted is set to launch a real-time inventory system this month, ensuring gear that customers are perusing is indeed in stock. Taking your first backpacking trip this summer? Rent a pack to test out before you make your investment!

SYNEK

On the other side of The Commons workspace, a team of four worked diligently. Still, when I approached with curiosity, there was no hesitation to pause and share their story. The Customer Engagement Lead of SYNEK, Zachary Schmidt, quickly showed me their brilliant product – a countertop beer dispenser for your home. That’s correct. You can now enjoy a freshly tapped beer from the comfort of your home.

A SYNEK dispenser located in The Commons workspace.

A SYNEK dispenser located in The Commons workspace.

The SYNEK dispenser holds 128 ounces of a beer of your choosing and keeps it tasting fresh for at least 30 days. A simple cartridge can be ordered online, taken to a partner bar, and filled with any beer on tap. Denver currently has more than 20 participating locations and continues to grow.

Originally funded through a Kickstarter campaign in 2014, SYNEK officially launched in June 2015. Based out of St. Louis, the company is establishing itself nationwide. What brought them to Denver?

“SYNEK just opened our Denver office in January, but we’d been planning the move for more than a year. The entrepreneurial/craft beer/tech scene was too perfect for our purposes for us to ignore,” Schmidt explains.

As recent transplants to Denver, this was the first time the team had worked at The Commons on Champa.

The SYNEK Denver team working at The Commons.

The SYNEK Denver team working at The Commons.

At other coworking spaces, I find that they too often get too eccentric and cluttered, and therefore distracting. I also particularly liked the desk space options available, from low, to standing, to lounge seating with desks included,” Schmidt says.

Along with enjoying the workspace, SYNEK won’t be strangers to The Commons on Champa – a SYNEK tap is currently in the workspace. Next up: wine on tap.

Looking for inspiration or a refreshing change of scenery? Head to The Commons on Champa.