Divvy Desk, an innovative business in downtown Statesboro, offers shared creative space and individual workspaces smaller than a full office, especially to “digital creatives.”
Filmmaker Justin Peay, with input from friends in similar creative fields, conceived Divvy Desk as a way to share some expenses and creative feedback in less lonely surroundings than a home office. The underlying idea isn’t new in downtown Statesboro, since Georgia Southern University’s Business Innovation Group rents workspaces around shared areas in the Innovation Incubator and FabLab on East Main Street. The Averitt Center for the Arts also rents studio space to artists in its Roxie Remley Center for Fine Arts.
“The way that we’ve kind of set ourselves off from them is we’ve geared this more toward digital creatives, the reason being that we’re focused more on the community aspect of a co-working space,” Peay said. “So right now we have a couple of photographers, a design agency, a marketing specialist, a videographer and a web developer, and we all kind of thrive on the interaction that we share we each other.”
In fact, Peay based his video production business for a time at the Roxie Remley Center.
“They have amazing studio space there for a great rate, but it was geared more toward tactile artists, like ceramicists and painters,” he said.
He owns it
Of course the university and the Averitt Center are public entities, so Divvy Desk also distinguishes itself by being a privately owned business renting to other self-employed creatives.
No subleasing is involved, since Justin Peay Productions LLC purchased the old storefront building at 19 Courtland Street last November, and Peay registered Divvy Desk LLC at that address in May. The building faces the courthouse from the side opposite East Main.
Before Peay bought it, the place had been on the market for years. Now it has bright walls, one with Divvy Desk’s “Divide & Conquer” unfurled pennant mural. Desks are sturdy tables of an open design, each with two high-back swivel rolling chairs.
“Desk members” pay $250 a month for 24-seven access. They each get dedicated desk space, a locker and filing cabinet, printer access, high-speed internet via WiFi or available cable connection, free coffee and filtered water in the break area and access to office supplies and mailing resources. Six of the eight desk member spaces are occupied.
“Daily rate” members pay $20 a day, and generally work from the sofa and chair in the front lounge area, but can use a desk as long as one is open, Peay said. They also get printer and high-speed WiFi and free coffee and filtered water.
His other business
So Divvy Desk becomes Peay’s second business and now hosts his first. After graduating from Georgia Southern University in 2008 with a degree in communication arts and a minor in theater, Peay won top honors in the first Statesboro Film Festival in 2009. His winning film was “Bo: A Dramedy” about a man who was born with the face of a clown but who wanted to be taken seriously and falls in love with a woman with a secret of her own.
Now Peay has been in the digital video production business six years and has come to specialize mainly in wedding videos. He has filmed about 150 weddings, including 39 this year through the third week of August, he said.
Speaking of weddings, he and wife Alaina will celebrate their 10th anniversary in October. For a while he worked out of their home, going full-time freelance in January 2017.
But he had shared space first at First United Methodist Church and later at Connection Church with graphic artist and web designer Sean Fox. The two of them had talked for years about a co-working space like Divvy Desk, so Fox and marketing director Katie Page became early desk members, along with Peay and his marketing director, Julie Bennett.
A more recent member is Mandy Edwards, owner of previously homebased ME Marketing Services.
“I’ve been here two weeks and I’ve gotten more done in those two weeks than the previous three at home,” Edwards said, 10 days ago.
Divvy Desk currently encompasses 600 square feet. But Peay has plans, developed by an architect and already submitted at City Hall, for 550 square feet of new construction in back, including a conference room, two private offices and two booth-like phone rooms where desk and day members can get some privacy for calls.
Herald reporter Al Hackle may be reached at (912) 489-9458.