B Corps have a new home base with co-working space in Portland

Left: A large office building in Portland, Oregon. Right: The Certified B Corp logo

In 2024, many creative, independent workers find themselves at an impasse: Save money and time by working asynchronously from home, or find an expensive co-working space that allows for at least a little human interaction every week.

Well, as much as your pajama pants and separation anxiety-addled dog might not like it, experts suggest that people typically thrive in co-working spaces

But after disastrous stories from WeWork and The Wing, those creative, values-driven business owners are trying to forge a new path for co-working.

One such case study is Place to B, a new co-working and collaborative space in Portland, Oregon. It was created by three founders of certified B Corps — companies that meet rigorous standards for ethical social, environmental, and governance practices in business.

The headquarters of Place to B in Portland, Oregon
Photo courtesy of Place to B

Not exclusive to B Corps, the office’s memberships are open to a variety of people and organizations — so long as they share the same values.

“Place to B’s emergent nature makes it ideal for professionals who crave a sense of collaboration with like-minded people,” a press release for the co-working space shared. 

“Founders and members alike are deeply driven to cultivate community among people who care as much about impact as they do about profit.”

Its website outlines who “belongs” in the space:

  • Certified B Corps, Pending B Corps, or those currently in the process of certification
  • 1% for the Planet members
  • Benefit Corporations for Good Businesses
  • Local B corp affiliates, like B Local PDX, Business for a Better Portland, and GlobalPDX members
  • Values-aligned nonprofits
  • Minority, woman, and LGBTQ+-owned businesses
  • Worker-owned businesses
  • Any other businesses that offer products or services that directly create positive outcomes for social or environmental justice

Whew, that’s a lot.

But the roughly 6,000 square foot space is excited to welcome these members, co-founder Erin Fish said. 

Place to B founders Erin Fish, Corey Omey, and Kel Moody
Place to B founders (from left to right): Erin Fish, Corey Omey, and Kel Moody. Photo courtesy of Beneficial State Bank

“After years of envisioning, manifesting, and planning, we are proud and excited to announce the launch of Place to B,” Fish wrote on LinkedIn, calling it “an innovative and dynamic co-working space and member community.”

The space has been open since the start of February and began with seven organizations, like Fish’s own Wanderwell (a B Corp travel insurance company), and another co-founder’s Kaleido Studio (a climate-centric architectural design firm).

“I love the sense of community that is being created at Place to B and the excitement to return to office work,” Jenn Lanius, an architect at Kaleido Studio said. 

She had been working remotely since the start of the pandemic, sharing that the return to the workplace had been slow.

A person sits at a desk, using a computer, in the Place to B coworking space
Photo courtesy of Place to B

“Several friends in other businesses have joined, and it has been fun growing the community. As a small office, it feels great to be part of a larger group of people who share similar values.”

Those shared values don’t stop at working next to a fellow B Corp. In the space’s kitchen, members can pour coffee from B Corp roasters, or sip on some tea from ethical tea makers. 

Place to B also hosts networking and community events with groups like B Local PDX, Climate Curious, and Love Oregon.

A press release for Place to B said: “The founding team is hopeful that these programs… will boost awareness among professionals who usually assume that co-working spaces aren’t for them, and will find, in Place to B, a place where people, planet, and prosperity play essential roles in doing business for good.”

On top of this programming, the space is leased by Killian Pacific, a social impact real estate company, and has partnerships with community-oriented companies like Beneficial State Bank.

An office lobby space filled with plants and a mural of a bird
Photo courtesy of Place to B

“The arrival of Place to B signifies a transformative moment for the neighborhood, promising to ignite further innovation and foster vibrant community engagement,” Nicole Stein, director of sustainability and social impact at Killian Pacific, said in a statement. 

To build its membership, Place to B offers five different options. These offerings range from an individual flex desk, to a large, private office space that can accommodate up to five people. 

The goal is to give these small, values-driven organizations the space to “grow or shrink” as needed.

“Yes, it’s a workspace, but it’s also a positive environment that provides a sense of community while allowing me to present myself openly and honestly,” Deborah Westlight, operations manager for the Oregon Clean Power Cooperative, said in a statement.

All members have internet access and wifi, member perks (like discounts and benefits), indoor secure bike parking, an exercise room and showers, access to a community/member directory, and of course, those tasty coffees, kombuchas, and sparkling waters.

Two people sit across from each other in leather chairs smiling and chatting
Photo courtesy of Place to B

The next item on the to-do list is to create an advisory committee of members to make the space “truly inclusive,” co-founder Kel Moody said in a blog post for Beneficial State Bank. 

“We’re working with other people, and it doesn’t even have to be in our field. It actually might even be better if it’s within mission-aligned – ‘mission’ being that we care about the wellbeing of the planet, the wellbeing of people, and prosperity,” co-founder Corey Omey continued.

“Business does not have to be about competition. Competition can drive a lot of innovation, but collaboration can take us further.”

Ultimately, Place to B is designed to be a dynamic space for people who work better in community.

“This is the future of working: Together,” Ari Simmons, a community energy consultant who uses a flex desk in Place to B, said in a statement. “Not in silos.”

Header images courtesy of Place to B/B Lab

Article Details

April 25, 2024 9:54 AM
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