By James Feichtner
With the success that Launch Fishers has seen since it’s opening in 2012, it’s no wonder other businesses are looking at its model. One particular city is opening its own coworking space on Sept. 24.
Working in collaboration with Indiana Wesleyan University and Launch Fishers Founder John Wechsler, The Refinery in Marion is hoping to achieve similar success. Wechsler has also worked with Wesleyan in the past, making him eager to help out with The Refinery.
“We’ve done a lot with Indiana Wesleyan at Launch Fishers,” Wechsler said. “Several of our companies were able to host internships with [Wesleyan] and we actually took one as well at Launch Fishers. I’ve just had a really great relationship with them. So when the planning for Launch Marion or, The Refinery as it’s known, got going I was asked to play a role in that and I was more than happy to do it.”
The primary founders of The Refinery are from Marion, giving the organization local roots, a common trait for local coworking spaces.
“The community foundation that funded this, the primary organizing group; they’re all Marion-rooted citizens,” Wechsler said. “That’s typically the way these things take root is there’s a citizen or a group of citizens that want to try to change their community and that’s how all this starts.”
Wechsler said that much of his interaction with The Refinery was in the early stages of its development. As for the final touches, that will be up to those in charge.
“It was definitely much more in the early days in terms of structure, what functional elements do they want to have in place, how do they engage the community, how do they engage sponsors and constituents,” Wechsler said. “I was involved early on in the structural elements of how you put a place like this together. When it comes down to opening and how they are going to actually operate it, that fall much more on the local organizers. We’re still available as a resource and ready to help them.”
As far as similarities to Launch Fishers, Wechsler thinks The Refinery will share common areas for entrepreneurs to work, dedicated spaces and the idea of a small coffee shop.
“I think all those are common core elements. You’ll see it very much mimics Launch Fishers in the functionality,” Wechsler said.