I know what it is to be a hungry creative looking to start a business. Inspired by French artist Philippe Meste’s visionary Spermcube, I spent the entirety of 2009 and the first three months of 2010 attempting to create Poopcube, eventually settling on the do-it-yourself Poopcube At Home hoping to attract the same demographic that enjoys Sea Monkeys and those weird water-dippy birds. But mass-producing thousands of medical grade clear plastic boxes was just the beginning of my entrepreneurial woes… the constant need for sound advice, an unquenchable thirst for caffeine, and the staggering legal realities of Poopcube were all far too much to bear, ultimately resulting in my abandonment of the project.
…but there are so many lingering what-ifs…
Never again should a talented craftsperson such as myself be left to fend for themselves when such beauty could be at stake. Happily, CoWork Ybor endeavors to put an end to the fear and loneliness of entrepreneurial and freelance work, providing a collaborative workspace in which creatives can pursue their passions. Paired with the brilliant Blind Tiger Cafe, CoWork Ybor stands to build a fascinating community that is just as much about creation as it is about empowering artists to do what they love.
CoWork Ybor is a comfortable environment, found in a beautiful 1920s building in Ybor. The space feels simultaneously historical and modern, with classic brick walls and long desks housing endless charging stations. Intended to bridge the gap between out-of-home or out-of-the-garage businesses and fully devoted office spaces, CoWork will provide its members the support structure that owner and entrepreneur Roberto Torres never had when he was building his own business. Membership will run $100 per month, and includes small and large group desk spaces, Internet, scanners/printers/fax machines (what the hell is a fax machine?), access to a conference room, AV equipment, snacks, coffee furnished by Buddy Brew, and a “Friday growler bar featuring local craft brewers”. Oh yes. There is also discussion of daily rates and the possibility of discounted rates when purchasing a membership spanning several months. And membership will cap at a certain point, preventing such awkward scenarios as “I call seatsies!” and “I call Fire Marshallsies!”.
Physically connected to CoWork Ybor is The Blind Tiger, functioning as a cafe and storefront for the operation. Serving Buddy Brew coffee, TeBella Tea, and Piquant pastries, The Blind Tiger is equipped to satisfy CoWork’s members as well as the general public. Additionally, locally-made products such as Black & Denim apparel and Fortenberry leather stuff & things will be sold in The Blind Tiger, tying its outward-facing business end to its creative community. Of special note here are the old-timey sewing machines strewn about the place, and the Cafe Bombon, a coffee drink made from equal parts espresso and sweetened condensed milk (which I had iced and am sexually eager to have again).
So whether you’re a passionate artist looking for a space in which to pursue your craft, or just a passionate coffee drinker, CoWork Ybor and The Blind Tiger are well equipped to satisfy your needs. Who knows – perhaps Poopcube still stands a chance in this competitive, dog-eat-poop world.
CoWork Ybor and The Blind Tiger are located at 1901 East 7th Avenue in Ybor.
The Blind Tiger is open Monday through Thursday 7am-8pm, Friday 7am-10pm, Saturday 8am-10pm, and Sunday 9am-8pm.