The Hive, which billed itself as a “chic co-working space for the self-made female entrepreneur to learn, network and thrive,” will soon close its doors. Owner Melissa Alam is shutting down the 900-square-foot location at 222 Race Street at the end of the month. It’s the third local co-working space to close its doors in the last five months.
When it opened in late 2014, The Hive received lots of goodwill and positive headlines. But Alam wasn’t willing to sign a long-term lease and was forced to say goodbye.
“The business is a great concept, and one that has positively changed the lives of so many men and women that have been in the space as either members or workshop attendees,” she said in an email Wednesday afternoon. “However, the space itself (while extremely adorable and cozy) is limited in size and I needed to think with my business and financial hat on.”
Alam said that managing her own career (which includes helping to launch Spoonful Magazine) was getting in the way of managing The Hive. Still, she knew that her decision “would damper the spirits of lots of women who crave a space and community like The Hive.”
There is a small bit of hope that The Hive continues on in some form.
“I do hope I’m able to re-open another space or maybe even sell the business to someone else equally as passionate about the concept to manage,” she wrote. “Either way, The Hive was a baby and random idea of mine that exceeded all of my expectations when it came to launching and lasting as long as it did.”
Alam plans to continue running some of The Hive’s events — just at different locations.
“I hope to partner with local spaces come spring and start up these workshops again because Philadelphia could always use more learning resources for freelancers and entrepreneurs,” she wrote.
The Hive marks the third Philly co-working space to close recently. The Impact Hub in Kensington announced its closure in September, while Center City startup incubator Seed Philly announced its closure in October.
So why do some co-working spaces succeed while others fail?
“Co-working is a tough industry, and there are lessons from The Hive that I’ll never forget for my next business endeavor,” wrote Alam. “Because it’s a relatively new concept to most people, understanding the benefits to co-working can be a battle because working from home is always free. There’s also overhead costs that go into a co-working space that don’t always correlate with the influx of members during a certain month or season.”
She also said the “community in a co-working space is so crucial — everything from member engagement with one another to even internal/external activities or perks for the group itself. It’s like running a company of entrepreneurs and you’re in charge of maintaining company morale and quality of work life. It’s a tough job, but one that can make or break a co-working space.”
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