|By Stuart Taylor, The Valdosta Daily Times, Ga.|
|McClatchy-Tribune Information Services|
Dated back to 1885 by an old Sanborn Fire Insurance Company Map, the two-story building started out with a general store on the bottom floor and a printing press on the second. In 1895, the
Now, Wisenbaker building houses the Valdosta Shared Office Space. Opened in 2006, it came about -- like a good friendship -- by accident.
"I actually planned to use it for an insurance business," said
Fina decided to turn the building into a shared office space.
Working with the
"If you want to establish a professional presence, you have to move from your home," said Barnas. "The first month there was very quiet, but it was such an excellent location, we knew it was home. It helped us focus."
"Smith and Barnas were my pioneer tenants," said Fina.
After the first month, Smith and Barnas were joined by
"I call them the Mom and Pop of the place," said Gino.
Hotchkiss, who runs
Paul, who has designed over 800 homes in his career, also found himself laying out office space for colleagues.
"It's a good place to grow," said
"We try not to have competition in the building," said Paul. "And we're careful about each other's privacy."
"When one of us has success, that's the rising tide that lifts all our boats," said Fina.
"There's a peripheral support group that's there, but not obtrusive," said Barnas. "We do try to support each other....Every time Kris made a placement, he has a small horn he'd blow and we'd all cheer."
"I was looking for a place to put a business, to have a storefront," said Jensen.
As his business has grown since 2008, and as he's added staff, Jensen has moved around in the building from bigger room to bigger room.
"It's very convenient," said Jensen. "You don't have to worry about amenities or charges for all the extras...the whole space works as a business incubator." Shared Office Space did just that for