An award-winning business hopes to help “bring life and vibrancy” to Congleton’s high street with an “innovative co-working concept”.
Shoppers in the town centre have been spotted “curiously peering in” through the large front window of the former B&M store at the end of Market Street, as workers put the finishing touches to the revamped building.
After sitting unoccupied for two-and-a-half years, Congleton business owners Tim and Jan McCloud, who own marketing agency TMC, have transformed what was once a Woolworth store into “The Space”, where local professionals will be able to build their own “community network”.
Marketing director Jessica Peake explained: “TMC marketing agency has the top floor, while on the ground floor we have an innovative co-working concept. We offer flexible work desks to organisations, sole traders, start-ups, or any individual that wants to come and use the space as part of a membership.”
The pet-friendly office space will include access to a lounge and kitchen area, indoor cycle storage, showers, lockers and free tea and coffee. Sound-proof phone booths and break-out areas, where colleagues can brain-storm, will be available as well as bookable meeting rooms.
Four different levels of membership will be on offer, ranging from access to a PO box, to full access to all amenities including a dedicated desk and storage space. Visitors can choose to buy a £20 day pass to use the space, or commit to a longer-term membership, which comes with a wider range of benefits and works out at a lower daily cost.
In 2023, TMC won the King’s Award for Enterprise, a globally recognised accolade, which is to be presented to the team at an official ceremony early next year.
While the global pandemic brought about a rise in home and hybrid working that led some businesses to close their offices completely, Ms Peake said that some preferred an office environment.
She said: “There are other similar concepts available, but what we are offering is a homely, professional space for those who work remotely, but prefer to work with other people.
“Local people can stay within beautiful Cheshire surroundings, and develop a professional community network. We’ve already had so many people curiously peering in our lovely big window at what’s going on.”
Ms Peake explained that the 35 team members at TMC were “really keen” to make the move from their current offices on John Bradshaw Court, Barn Road, to the town centre, where they will be able to buy their lunch from nearby cafes and food outlets.
The “Chronicle” asked Ms Peake how staff members felt about Cheshire East’s proposal to increase car parking charges in the town centre.
She said: “It would be a shame if they increase the charges. It would have an impact on the team and clients, and we want to encourage as many people as possible into the town centre.
“With the new Congleton Market Quarter and the Orange Tree restaurant, there is so much life being injected into Congleton, so hopefully that will continue.”
Chief executive officer Mr McCloud said: “Our decision to move into the heart of the town was fuelled by our desire to be part of the local community and help re-imagine the high street, bringing life and vibrancy back into the vacant building that had so much untapped potential.
“Town centres have struggled to find their purpose and identity in recent years, and by bringing our large team onto the high street and with the creation of a collaborative workspace, we hope we can help bring prosperity to all our new neighbours.
“The TMC team are all either Congleton residents, or very local, so to protect their stability and wellbeing, we were keen to remain in Congleton while scaling up. We wanted to create a space that was more than home, more than an office, and I feel we have really achieved that.”
TMC held a community preview event on Tuesday, and will be having a grand opening in the new year.