Introducing The Prairie Den: Fargo’s new coworking space

It’s official. Emerging Prairie is launching a new coworking space in Fargo, as we announced this morning, June 17, at 1 Million Cups. By community vote, the space has been christened The Prairie Den, and is slotted to open to the public on July 6, 2015.

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The Prairie Den was open for a sneak peek at June 16 Startup Drinks.

The Prairie Den is located at 122 ½ N. Broadway above King House Buffet, in a coworking space formerly operated by CoCo. It is now being re-furnished and designed by the Emerging Prairie team and a handful of other contributors, and includes artwork by local Fargo artists as well as artists from the world-traveling Misfit Incorporated agency.

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Tessa Beck from Ecce Art Gallery presents one of The Prairie Den’s centerpieces by Cole La Roque

The Prairie Den will embody many of the same concepts initiated by CoCo, namely providing a collaborative workspace while providing resources like gigabit Internet by 702 Communications and free coffee.

The pricing model for The Prairie Den is currently in the works by the Emerging Prairie board, and will be released by the end of the week.

“We want to honor the risk that CoCo took in coming here,” said Annie Wood, Emerging Prairie Program Director and the lead organizer for launching The Prairie Den. “We appreciate that they laid the groundwork for coworking in Fargo.”

CoCo, which has three other locations in St. Paul, Minneapolis, and Uptown, closed its doors in Fargo on June 5 due to lack of sustainable membership.

“Fargo needs coworking”

Even before CoCo Fargo launched, Emerging Prairie and the Greater Fargo-Moorhead Economic Development Corporation (GFMEDC) had been pushing to open a coworking space in the city. Emerging Prairie CEO Greg Tehven believes that a coworking space in Fargo can be successful with a different approach.

Tehven is particularly inspired by the way student unions function on college campuses.

“One of the integral parts of a university is the student union. It’s a place where folks can meet, work, learn, and hang out,” he said. “Our community will benefit greatly from a similar place – a place to gather, collaborate, and engage with one another.”

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Emerging Prairie is involving the public with every step of the process in an effort to make The Prairie Den not only for the community, but also created by the community.

“This is a grassroots project. We want it to grow into what people want it to be,” said Annie Wood.

This effort started with welcoming people to vote on a name for the space via Facebook and Twitter, with nearly 100 people participating. On Tuesday night at Startup Drinks – a monthly event organized by Emerging Prairie – The Prairie Den was open for a sneak peek, empty as it is, so that the community can witness the process from the ground up.

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Live music at Startup Drinks by the Cropdusters!

Now, Wood is creating “The Prairie Den Wishlist” where people can list things they’d like to see in the space, and others can offer to donate pieces of furniture, books, lamps, and other supplies.

Funding will also be a community effort. The Prairie Den is accepting corporate packages, and already has some secured, including with the GFMEDC and Eide Bailly. There will also be a crowd-funding campaign launched in the near future.

Ultimately, it’s a lot of work. But the team at Emerging Prairie believes it’s worth it.

“We’re scrambling to make it happen because we believe in connecting and celebrating our community,” Wood said.

Photos courtesy of Bri Lee.

Marisa Jackels

Marisa Jackels

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