Katrina Turnbow is reflective when she speaks about her newest co-working space.
â€œThe cool thing about thatâ€”itâ€™s the neighborhood whereÂ I grew up. The significance is that the â€˜67 riots actually happened on the corner of the shopping complex where I will be.
[Itâ€™s] pretty significant to bring something to a neighborhood that was devastated. We will provide co-working space and opportunity outside of downtown Detroit; once you get outside midtown and downtown [and] get to regular Detroitâ€”people are afraid. [But] there are plans, which have not been a highlightâ€¦â€
A Rarity: A Black-Owned Co-working Space
Turnbow is one of perhaps a handful of African Americans who have opened up co-working spaces. These are communal office spaces that are attractive to startups because they are affordable and provide all of the amenities of an office without the high costs of renting commercial space.
Turnbow acquired her first co-working space, An Office in Detroit, in February.
â€œThe guy who owned it before was kind of grassroots; there was mismatched furniture,â€ she says. â€œI felt it had the right kind of people. I am changing and adding some things, but the people I have been meeting are true business owners trying to get their businesses off the ground or are established and donâ€™t want to be in a coffee shop.â€
Out of the Mainstream Startups, Welcomed
She is particularly focused on luring African American-owned startups or any fledging company or entrepreneur that may feel out of the mainstream.
â€œDetroit can be very cliquish and segmented. If you are not young and hip andÂ just a regular business and donâ€™t come from that world, Iâ€™ve heard people say it’s intimidating. OrÂ if you are not super young… Iâ€™m a mother with two kids,â€ Turnbow says.
â€œItâ€™s more of a true community and not based upon everyone. It’s OK if everyone is not super successful right nowâ€”that is one of the thingsâ€”it’s real organic.â€
She is set to open her second location in downtown Detroit this month. This co-working space will also double as a digital marketing studio, as Turnbowâ€™s background is in marketing.