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'Starbucks without noise' MORE INFO

January 17, 2009 12:36 am

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Business Playce, a telecommuting center on State Route 3 in Spotsylvania County, features work spaces and a conference room for those seeking an alternative to commuting. bz0117playcenter3.jpg

Business Playce, which opened recently in Spotsylvania County, is a telework office with room for seven to 10 people. bz0117playcenter2.jpg

Roni Delagrange, a mediator for Spotsylvania Juvenile Court, is one of the workers using space at Business Playce, a telecommuting center that opened recently.

BY KELLY HANNON

Cheery yellow walls, hot pink doors and pieces by local artists greet teleworkers at Business Playce.

Recently opened by salesmen David Brummer and Paul Delagrange, the rentable office-space facility in Spotsylvania County tries to liven up a day's work.

Brummer and Delagrange work from home in Virginia and Maryland when they aren't traveling for Arbotek Associates, a technology and engineering sales firm. They were weary of trying to do business over the grinding whir of coffee-shop blenders, or working out of lonely office centers.

So Delagrange, 41, rented commercial space near Ukrop's on State Route 3, and transformed it into Business Playce, a "co-working" telework office for 7 to 10 people, possibly more.

"I describe this place to people as a Starbucks without the noise in the background," Delagrange said. " You can have a professional environment but get a little of the coffee-shop vibe."

Before November, Delagrange worked out of rentable business suites in Fredericksburg.

The environment was too lonely for him, he said. His office had no windows, and hours would pass without seeing another human.

"I'm in sales, and I like talking to people. I like interaction," said Delagrange, who lives in Spotsylvania. Brummer lives in New Market, Md.

Co-working encourages teleworkers to socialize during work breaks, to network and problem-solve, even if they work for different employers, Delagrange said. Business Playce has wipeable whiteboards positioned throughout the office for brainstorming.

"If you're a Web developer and you have an idea you can put your idea up on the whiteboard and then allow other people to make comments. It's collaboration. It's a sense of community, and that's hopefully what we're trying to build here," Delagrange said.

Business Playce's current clients include an attorney, a math tutor, a mediator and a Web site developer.

Attorney Andrew Flusche found a posting for Business Playce online. He schedules time in the conference room, where there is privacy.

Flusche moved to Spotsylvania 18 months ago, after graduating from law school at the University of Virginia.

Flusche spends most of his work week in court, so he needs an office setting only a few hours a week. He can do all the online research, printing and faxing he needs from the telework office.

"I consider myself an out-of-the-box thinker in a lot of ways, but especially as far as the office goes," Flusche said. "I don't see the point in having the fancy mahogany office, because in reality the clients are paying for that."

Once Business Playce attracts several more workers, Delagrane wants to expand the site to accommodate up to 20 workers at a time.

Drop-in visits to Business Playce are $20 a day, with subsequent visits at $15 a day. For that price, Business Playce provides wireless Internet access, faxing, printing and coffee. Workers who want 24-hour access seven days a week pay $175 a month.

Anyone who wants to take a peek at the office can give it a try on Tuesday, when inaugural events in Washington could keep a lot of workers in the Fredericksburg area at home.

Business Playce will let anyone work for free Tuesday if they bring canned goods for local food banks, Delagrange said.

He hopes to foster more nontraditional mixing between Business Playce and area groups.

Nonprofits can use Business Playce's conference room for free, when it's not reserved for a client, and the office will display works from Brush Strokes Art Gallery in Fredericksburg.

"It's definitely a looser, more community-centric environment," Delagrange said.

Kelly Hannon: 540/374-5436
Email: khannon@freelancestar.com




Fees are posted online at businessplayce.com.

Business Playce is at 12000 Kennedy Lane, Suite 106, Fredericksburg, Va. 22407.




Copyright 2014 The Free Lance-Star Publishing Company.