For local entrepreneurs and freelancers, basic business needs like renting office space and investing in technology can present major financial obstacles. Co-working companies rent out shared office space to a range of clients looking for an alternative to a multi-year lease.
In downtown Walnut Creek, Victory Workspace offers a co-working environment for self-employed people and corporate employees who work remotely, as well as freelancers who crave a sense of community. “This place is my corporate culture,” says Jon Welch, who works as a benefits administrator for a company in Wisconsin but prefers living in California.
Based on a monthly membership starting at $195, which escalates based on amenities chosen, Victory provides a variety of options—community tables, cubicles, and private offices. There are conference rooms with AV equipment and small secluded rooms for private conversations. Your business name can appear on the office directory and members never have to worry about whether the printer is out of ink.
As owner and founder, Victor Mataraso takes care of member’s office needs, including a sense of community. “Here you can have co-workers even though you don’t work for the same company,” he explains. “There’s a community aspect to it. We foster that spirit by hosting business education, networking, and social events.”
Mataraso started off in 2002 with Reliable Receptionist: a phone answering service for business people. In 2012, he decided to expand into a co-working space. He folded his enterprise into Victory Workspace and the receptionists now greet visitors in addition to answering the phones. In 2017, Victory doubled in space to its current 6,500-square-feet above Locust Street. “There are plenty of places where you can find Wi-Fi and a desk. But for a lot of people that isn’t enough. They want something less isolating and a way to present themselves professionally,” Mataraso says.
The co-working space provides additional benefits to its members. For example, instead of putting your home address on the internet or business cards, you can use Victory’s address and be indexed by Google there. You can have your own mailbox in the lobby and the receptionists will receive packages for you and forward your mail. If a monthly membership is not your thing, they also offer flexible options to access the workspace for a day or a week.
Aly Sharp, who is married with three small children and lives in Walnut Creek’s Saranap neighborhood, started working out of Victory when she left her corporate job to be a consultant. “When I am in my house, I see dishes, I see laundry, and I see toys that need to be tidied up. Coming here, I am at work. If I was at home, I’d never get anything done.” Because she works around her kids’ schedules, Sharp appreciates the 24/7 access Victory provides with a phone app that allows members to come in anytime.
While entrepreneurs and freelancers make up the bulk of Victory’s membership, Mataraso says the number of corporate employees has recently increased. “If you want to recruit talent and you tell them they must commute two hours, that is not an attractive offer. But give them a relatively small budget and they can work here. This shift in how and where people work is occurring globally. It’s a fascinating trend.” 1261 Locust Street, Walnut Creek, victoryworkspace.com.
BY DEBORAH BURSTYN