Local Entrepreneur Opens Fireworx CoWorking in Historic Fire House
Image the excitement you might feel when you have a strong attachment to historic building and you want to encourage entrepreneurship in your hometown and you discover an opportunity. Listen to the podcast.
For Bruce Rowley, an entrepreneur, marketer, creative thinker, commercial real estate developer and managing partner at RSM Marketing, that's what happened one day as he drove by an historic firehouse near his office in downtown Wichita, Kansas.
He had driven by this building many times. The city was using as staging area for public works projects, with trucks and gear parked here and there around the site.
He stopped one day for look at the building, just a bit curious about what the inside looked like. As he was looking around, he stepped into the historic fire station, and was greeted by one of the workers. He got a tour of the building from one of the city employee who mentioned that the city was planning to move their functions out and sell the space. Once Bruce saw the space, that got Bruce's creative juices flowing and he went home that evening, wrote up a plan and sent it off to his partners by 10 PM that night.
In his research he discovered that co-working has gone into old banks and old schools. He realized that his rather difficult spaces can be repurposed in some space ways. It took some time to get a contract with the city in place to acquire the building with an agreement to turn the firehouse into a co-working space.
One of the creative things they did was to take the huge doors of the fire station and used them for interior walls for conference space.
The grand opening included many of the retired fire workers who actually served at the station. Find out more information FireWorxWichita.com.
Bruce, grew up in Wichita when the aviation industry was growing rapidly as a community of entrepreneurs that included Pizza Hut and the Rent-A-Center corporations grew to national chains. That changed later in the 1990s and the early part of this decade. But over the last few years things have really taken off for entrepreneurs in Wichita with the whole ecosystem for entrepreneurs rapidly expanding.
As Bruce said, “We got the beginning of our MoJo back and we are not taking no for answer anymore.” and “We are not playing by the rules set by who knows who anymore.”
The entrepreneurship is the reason Bruce and his business partner Mike Snyder choose to locate their business here as it as grown to a national firm. One of the things they have done is look around in the downtown area with other investors to build up the area south of the sports arena.
The entire top floor of the building has been leased out, but there is space on the ground floor and the loft area. The plan is to bring even more economic diversity to the area with the addition of the co-working space and is within walking distance to the sports arena, the new baseball stadium and many eating spots.
Be sure and tune in to find out what Bruce feels is the three elements needed to make entrepreneurship grow in any community.
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