A Berks County couple announced their plans to convert the former Kutztown Town Hall building at North Whiteoak and Fair streets into a shared workspace, called kTown Hall.
Entrepreneurs Anne and Nick Timpe purchased the building at public auction. With an October opening planned, kTown Hall will be a shared workspace where individuals who work independently can access the amenities and networking benefits of a professional office.
Anne Timpe, director of the newly formed kTown Hall, said the idea was inspired by the needs of their family’s growing software company, webCemeteries.
“With members of our team working remotely, we saw the need for today’s professionals and small businesses to have access to a workspace and a community that can foster growth and collaboration,” she said in the Sept. 3 announcement.
Nick Timpe, president and CEO of webCemeteries, said that he plans to move his company into kTown Hall as one of its first members.
“Traveling across the country I have seen other regions create business growth and entrepreneurship through co-working communities, and we are excited to bring this concept to Kutztown,” he said.
One such community, Synapse Florida was co-founded by a native of Kutztown, Andy Hafer. Through other business dealings, the Timpes and Hafer met and shared their vision for a similar community in Kutztown.
“Synapse was established to accelerate innovation and business growth by taking some of the ‘luck’ out of starting and growing a company,” said Hafer in the announcement. “By bringing the various personas of the eco-system including entrepreneurs, talent, investors, corporate executives, educational institutions and government together, dialog begins, and everyone quickly understands we are all after the same thing. I always say, ‘A rising innovation economy tide lifts all boats.’”
Hafer continued, “Although my career took me to Florida, my roots are in Berks County. I know the temperament and perseverance of the people here and know those characteristics are the core intangibles of success for growing innovation companies.”
Hafer, a serial entrepreneur, has established several tech companies including Dynamic Communities, Inc, prior to founding Synapse.
Renovations are well under way, and kTown Hall is planning an October opening. The layout of the historic building remains the same, with renovations almost entirely focused on refreshing the space and bringing the building up to modern standards, and leaving as many historical details and features as possible.
The first floor coworking space will consist of open concept workstations, a kitchen, reserved desks, a conference room, and private booths for phone calls. Individuals and companies will be able to purchase varying levels of memberships to the space.
kTown Hall plans to offer networking events and educational courses from local experts on a range of topics relevant to small businesses.
“Ultimately, our long-term vision is expanding the coworking space into a business incubator,” Anne said. “We love the idea of tapping into the wealth of knowledge and experience that our local businesses have and directing it toward teaching new entrepreneurs how to run successful companies. A coworking space naturally provides a foundation for attracting and connecting that kind of talent and people who are invested in their community.”
For more information, visit kTown Hall online at www.kTownHall.com or follow on social media at ktownhall.
According to a March Reading Eagle article by Ron Devlin about the auction of the building, the 104-year-old two-story building located two blocks off Main Street served the Kutztown Fire Company until 1950 and Kutztown Borough as Town Hall until 1959 and was later the home of the Kutztown Public Library and the YMCA for a period of time. The building was sold to Berkley Computers in the 1980s, according to Mayor Jim Schlegel. The building had been for sale for some time prior to being purchased at auction recently.