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Collaborating with Coespace

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Local couple launches a new kind of creative space

BANGOR The burgeoning business scene in downtown Bangor is getting a little more active.

Located at 48 Columbia Street, Coespace is the brainchild of the husband and wife team of Joshua Schmersal and Anne Schmidt. To put it simply, Coespace is, well a space. It's a place for anyone and everyone to use as they see fit. All you have to do is cough up a very reasonable $25 per hour for a four-hour block of time and you can use the beautifully renovated modern space for any purpose you like.

'If you've got something that's too big for your living room, but not big enough to warrant a huge space, that's where we come in,' said Schmersal. 'We provide some basic amenities, but it's all about what you bring to the table.'

'If it's within a reasonable scope, we want you to do whatever you want,' added Schmidt. 'You want to bring in some plants and set up a garden party to watch a movie? Do it. Do you want to have an intimate catered dinner for two? Do that.

'We've basically got a state park' rule: bring what you need to do what you want to do, then leave the space as you found it.'

The idea for Coespace is one that the couple has been kicking around for years. The idea of a rentable collaborative space is one that appealed to both, considering each does considerable work in the creative economy Schmidt is a professional photographer, while Schmersal directs a local choir and makes frequent appearances with Penobscot Theatre but space for creative endeavors is often difficult to come by.

The renovated location is all white walls and hardwood floors, giving Coespace a sleek and modern feel while also creating an extremely flexible location for all manner of events and ideas.

'We love the simplicity, we love the idea of creativity,' said Schmersal.

'We wanted the people to be the color, to be the life of the space,' Schmidt said.

Part of that color will come from the cultural expansion of Bangor's downtown. Schmersal and Schmidt both spoke highly of the support their new venture has received from the downtown community, commenting on how many business owners are coming together in a collaborative spirit to keep building on what's already here.

'We wanted to be here in downtown Bangor,' said Schmersal. 'There's a really nice vibe going on down here that is going to continue to grow. We're downtown for a reason. We really wanted to be a part of it.'

Essentially, what these two entrepreneurs have done is provide a blank canvas for people and organizations to create what they want. Many other area venues have various outside factors that influence the whens, whys and hows of their usage. With Coespace, none of those factors apply. And the response has already been strong.

'Our first event is booked,' Schmidt said. 'We'll be open as early as next weekend. We [officially] launched on Monday afternoon and we already have people interested through the summer. People have been walking by, seen what we're doing and come in to express their interest in reserving space. The response has been amazing.'

Doing something new is always a risk. But in the case of Coespace especially with a passionate pair like Schmersal and Schmidt behind it that risk seems minimal set against the potential reward. It is ideas like this one that help the creative culture continue to bloom in Bangor.

(Coespace is currently accepting reservations. For more information regarding bookings or other questions, visit their website at thecoespace.com, find them on Facebook or call 951-5151.)

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