Cultivating Connection with The Shop
Salt Lake City is a place that seeks to foster connection. With The Shop, a new co-working space in downtown SLC, it’s never been easier to cultivate those creative connections—often between people and groups that may have never met otherwise.
The Shop, located at 350 E. 400 South, has a simple mission: help companies come together and build community. From thoughtful design to stunning rooftop views to a dedication to local communities, The Shop stands out among co-working spaces. With 30,000 square feet to work with, Community Manager Anne Olsen says The Shop was built from the ground up with the mission in mind.
While the benefits of co-working are many (a fixed monthly cost, the ability to pay as a business grows, shared resources, etc.), Olsen’s favorite is by far the community. With members such as S&S Presents, Equality Utah, Empathic and The Nature Conservancy all in one hallway, The Shop’s community is vast and growing. “The amount of knowledge spillovers and community collisions that can happen, it’s so fun to watch,” Olsen says.
Before the pandemic, Olsen says the traditional office was king. As companies now realize the potential of remote work, she believes co-working offers the perfect balance. “COVID accelerated the need for hyper flexible space,” Olsen says. “Co-working closes the gap between what a traditional office space looks like … versus this really nimble, flexible option.” Members of The Shop enjoy 24/7 access to their spaces, allowing for fluid schedules and consistent connection. “We’ve really learned in the last few years in particular that flexibility isn’t something that we want, it’s actually something that we need,” Olsen says.
“Co-working closes the gap between what a traditional office space looks like … versus this really nimble, flexible option.”
Each of The Shop’s three floors has a distinct feel to it. The top floor is quiet and calm, dark in tone and rich in insulated depth. Here, expect for the music to be turned down low, acoustic tile to minimize noise, and booths that provide a solitary experience without being isolated. If you need some fresh air, the rooftop is a nearby retreat. The city views are sure to inspire productivity. The middle floor is the “main” floor, boasting a kitchen offering local brews from Daily Rise, King’s Peak Coffee Roasters and Salt Lake Roasting Co. An abundance of natural light floods through large windows, a choice Olsen says was deliberate: “We wanted to democratize the best views … instead of just lining the entire perimeter with offices.”
The look is only half the story: Olsen says Salt Lake’s connection to the Union Pacific Railroad influenced many of the decisions made by the New Orleans architects. Straight, clean-cut lines conjure images of connection between the coasts. Natural wood brackets the space in ways that are undeniably aesthetically pleasing. “They really wanted a space that felt like Salt Lake and had connections to Salt Lake without being so obvious in a way,” Olsen says.
Down on the bottom floor, The Shop’s commitment to local art is abundant and clear to see. “Our goal in the space is that no matter where you’re standing, if you spin 360 degrees, you’ll see at least one piece of art,” Olsen says. “They ended up expanding the investment because they couldn’t decide what pieces to purchase.” While pieces from over 25 local artists hang throughout the building, the program truly comes to life here with Tom Judd’s “Saltair” and Sheldon Harvey’s “The Beginning” pieces. Modern West Fine Art organized the sales. You can explore more of The Shop’s art with their Art Brochure.
“We wanted to democratize the best views … instead of just lining the entire perimeter with offices.”
Art isn’t the only way The Shop engages the local community—as Olsen says, “The economic development piece of this puzzle is bananas.” In February alone, The Shop brought in over $250,000 to the city’s local economy by hosting the mtnDAO Hacker House. Programming goes a long way to uplift SLC’s professional culture, with events such as a pitch competition and an educational workshop series. “[We’re] trying to hit on all these different edges and corners of what people are caring about right now,” Olsen says. “And just trying to always find ways to get people out of their offices and into the common spaces to meet each other without it being pushy or forced.” The best way to do that? Bringing in pieces of the city for members, such as through wine and beer tastings.
Supporting the community doesn’t stop there. The Shop’s “My Community” program works with three local nonprofits—this year supporting SpyHop Productions, Equality Utah and Green Urban Lunch Box— by volunteering and allocating funds for direct support. On a quarterly basis, new members can vote for their favorite nonprofit to receive funds. Beyond that, any nonprofit can qualify for discounted membership pricing. “If you’re doing work that values our community, we want to be sure that we’re rewarding that,” Olsen says.
April 19 marked The Shop’s one year anniversary. Olsen hopes to facilitate stronger partnerships, more knowledge spillovers and do that much more for the local community. “The future holds a lot of fun,” Olsen says. As The Shop continues to grow, so do the members. “One of the best things about co-working is that you’re always constantly bringing in new members and new ideas,” Olsen said. “People outgrow us and they’re supposed to.”
With the ever-evolving culture, there’s always new faces and smiles to meet at The Shop. You can stay updated online at shopworkspace.com and on Instagram and Facebook at @theshop.slc. “People are all doing different kinds of work at different stages, but they’re all equally excited and passionate and want to help each other and get to know one another,” Olsen says. “I think The Shop is really for people who are doing their life’s work.”
Read more about some of the businesses that collaborate with The Shop:
Giving Salt Lake’s Youth a Voice: Spy Hop’s Film Program
The Brewing of John Bolton & Salt Lake Roasting Company