By Rachel Lerman
The Seattle Times.
Inside a former Northern Trust bank vault in downtown Seattle, there now stand several rows of posh, wooden lockers. Just outside the heavy vault door is a series of curtained booths, a sleek, fully stocked bar and rows of small desks set up to look like a cafe.
A blend of restaurant, bar and lounge, the location has another function: It’s a co-working space.
The Coterie Worklounge launched last month to serve a gap that co-founders Leah Richmond and Su-Zette Sparks see in the market, an upscale space where a growing number of independent workers can eat, entertain clients and work.
A co-working space generally summons up images of rows of offices, desks, kitchens and maybe a few pingpong tables thrown in.
More and more, the term has come to apply to tech startups, which often start out in co-working spaces. The spaces provide a place to work and meet with teams, with the added benefit of having access to electricity and Wi-Fi.
Coterie looks different. The 10,000-square-foot space at the base of a downtown office tower is decked out in elegant furniture that recalls a scene from “Mad Men,” which is just the vibe Sparks and Richmond sought.
“We were going for the ’40s, but I think we landed in the ’50s,” Richmond said.
The pair previously ran a consultant business, helping companies with organization and strategy.
They said they got sick of working in crowded coffee shops or trying to find places to meet with clients at the last minute.
That’s when they started to raise money to open Coterie, a word that refers to a group of like-minded spirits.
“The idea was to create a space where you can get some work done but also entertain a client and celebrate,” Sparks said.