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Rebecca Reisman Rebecca Reisman
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CoVort brings co-working to downtown Bangor

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BANGOR - Lisa Liberatore and Jason Harkins, the co-founders of CoVort, have transformed 49 Main Street from an empty shell to a co-working haven. With financial support from sponsors such as Bangor Savings Bank, Rudman Winchell and Eaton Peabody, CoVort opened shortly after this past Thanksgiving. 

CoVort offers an array of work spaces, private phone booths, separate collaboration rooms, a stocked kitchenette, ten-person conference room equipped for phone and video calling and even a 3D printer.

The classic brick structure and tin ceilings preserve the building’s historical integrity while blending it with the décor and vibe of the modern workplace. It is open and inviting, but CoVort is much more than an impressive space.

So, what is it?

“We are a co-working space that is available for entrepreneurs, digital nomads and professional services providers,” Liberatore explained, adding “If you can work anywhere, you can work here.”

Because CoVort’s clientele can work at any office location, Liberatore says that what is integral to CoVort - and what makes it a unique experience - is its purpose of providing “an opportunity not for a physical space but for a community.”

Both Liberatore and Harkins are working professionals in the area who have dealt with the challenges of working professionally without an adequate office space. From the obstacles of working in a coffee shop to the isolation of traditional office spaces, they “saw a need for a space that is affordable and accessible for the community to come together to gather to get work done,” Liberatore said.

But at CoVort, members have more than a place to efficiently do their work, they have a place where they can collaborate, engage and learn from those working around them. 

“When you need a break and someone else needs a break, you can play cribbage, or grab a cup of coffee,” or even just “talk about life or an idea,” Liberatore said, sharing that what is at the core of CoVort is that it is a place where connections are made. Whether working on a website or a marketing pitch, CoVort creates a network for its customers to seek out help and support.

Customers can go to covort.org to buy daily or weekly passes; they can also become members on a month-to-month basis.

Additional programming for members includes monthly Lunch and Learn sessions led by CoVort’s sponsors and quarterly happy hour events.

The Lunch and Learn series kicked off on Jan. 30 with an event open to the public, the launch of CoVort’s 3D printer. Donated by the Perloff Family Foundation, the 3D printer is one of the first in Bangor to be accessible to the public. The Foundation has already donated a plethora of 3D printers to schools around the state and is dedicated to increasing the accessibility of this technology. Liberatore and Harkins are eager to help with this task and offer prices aimed at reflecting their efforts.

Both Liberatore and Harkins have roots that are firmly grounded in the area’s entrepreneurial community; there were customers trying to purchase memberships before CoVort had officially opened its doors.

However, co-working is still a relatively new concept in Maine and especially in Bangor, despite its global popularity. When asked about reaching out to those who don’t yet know about co-working, but could benefit from it, Harkins shared that CoVort strives “to be active in the community.” Through chamber events, radio spots and its intentional placement of being downtown and closely connected to the larger community, Harkins and Liberatore have implemented initiatives to get the word out and get the community involved. 

“Co-working is more than a physical place. It is not an incubator. It is a community of like-minded individuals who have a common place to come work,” Harkins said. “We want to invite people in.”

While CoVort offers ample technology in an impressive space, it is about something less tangible yet no less important - the ability to foster a community.

Last modified on Thursday, 09 March 2017 02:29

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