Passersby probably thought the man washing cars outside what looked like a vacant building on Main Street in Santa Maria was merely taking advantage of an empty parking lot on a recent sunny morning to drum up business.
But he actually was an entrepreneur, one of dozens who will soon work in (or outside) the space at 429 E. Main St.
Santa Maria’s first co-working facility, MIYB Spaces, is set for a soft opening this week, with a grand opening the first weekend in May.
The building’s namesake — Make It Your Business (MIYB) — is a campaign and for-profit entity that Cremarosa created to focus on fostering the success of local entrepreneurs.
MIYB launched last month when 100 locals gathered at the Santa Maria Inn for a conference bearing the same name and purpose.
“It really kind of started as a grass-roots effort,” said Cremarosa, who for years has wanted a co-working facility for her community. “There’s lots of opportunities in Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo for an entrepreneur trying to do business. My feeling is this area has a huge need. We just needed to do something about it.”
Cremarosa took Noozhawk on a tour of MIYB Spaces last week, while cleaning crews added finishing touches to a building in the heart of town that used to house Arrow Photo.
She excitedly walked through conference rooms, lounge areas, offices that would hold four desks, and even a vault room, since the building at one time was a bank.
Membership at MIYB Spaces would be similar to other area co-working facilities, such as Santa Barbara’s workzones and SYNERGY, Cremarosa said, explaining that members could pay by the hour, day or month.
Three bright red, old-fashioned phone booths for private calls stood in the open corridor, with a Cottage Bistro and vending machines nearby.
“We’re really creating a hub of resources in here,” Cremarosa said.
As an administrator who works with young, local entrepreneurs — and as an Hancock graduate herself — Cremarosa hopes to bridge the opportunity gap that typically sends businesses elsewhere.
“It’s all about building that community,” she said. “There has to be a community to grow business. I don’t want these kids to think they have to do it somewhere else.”