Switchyards, the work club concept that has taken over Atlanta one neighborhood at a time, is opening up its first location outside of the Metro Atlanta area.
It is no surprise that the club picked Nashville for its expansion efforts. Nashville’s business scene has boomed over the last five years as startups, large corporations, and highly-skilled workers moved into the city to take advantage of its low cost of living and growing tech sector.
That growth means more office space is certainly needed. But in our post-COVID world, the very concept of office space has transformed. Switchyards looks to provide space for people who don’t necessarily always want to work from an office, are tired of working from their kitchen table, and just need a designated space in their neighborhood to get work done.
This week Switchyards announced it is transforming a 8,000 square foot 100-year-old church in the Eastwood neighborhood into a 24/7 place for members to get work done.
For CEO and Founder Michael Tavani, Switchyards’s concept of neighborhood work spaces fits in with East Nashville’s vibe. With the address of Switchyards’ first Nashville location being announced today, we asked Tavani a few questions about how the company has expanded, what type of people it is attracted, and what its plans are for the future.
Here is a bit of our Q&A with Tavani:
Question: How did you pinpoint Nashville as the next city for Switchyards? What about the city / its workforce made it the right fit?
Answer: When looking at launching our first city outside of Atlanta, we were looking for a city that had the same strong intown neighborhood culture that Atlanta does. Walkable, residential neighborhoods that look and feel like Cabbagetown, Virginia-Highland, Inman Park, Decatur. Those were some of our original, and highly successful, neighborhoods in Atlanta.
Nashville shares a lot with Atlanta – there’s a lot of cross-over in terms of people, interests, parts of town, restaurants, etc.
Q: There’s been a lot of talk recently about companies implementing Return To Office plans. Would love to hear a bit more about the breakdown of people who are using Switchyards now. Startup folks? Small business owners? Corporate people?
A: Before Covid, Switchyards members tended to be more forward-thinking in terms of where they enjoyed working from. As with most things, those “early adopters” of the neighborhood work club ended up being designers, creative, freelancers. And then Covid happened and now we’re experiencing the beginnings of the biggest shift in how we work in almost 100 years. We believe every great neighborhood in the country will have a neighborhood work club, a new category of place Switchyards created.
Our membership now spans the spectrum of knowledge workers that need a thoughtfully designed place outside of home and the office for inspired work around others. Focused work. Completely separate from the endless distractions of home and the office. Open all the time 24/7 and with bottomless coffee, of course.
Q: Thinking back to the launch of the first neighborhood work club to now…any big surprises are interesting learnings that have impacted more recent buildouts?
A: Switchyards is a learning and iteration machine! We’ve moved quickly, test a lot, and learned so many unique insights that have fueled our growth today. We’re creating an entirely different and new product with the neighborhood work club, and in doing so everything is intentional. Around vibe, lights, decor, temperature, furniture, music, and smells. It’s a place where you can dependably get work done. And most importantly, it just feels good to be here.
Biggest ones are:
– convenience: Locations tucked into residential neighborhoods all the city. We want to be less than a couple miles from where you live. Also, being open 24/7 is a version of convenience that fuels a magical experience. No excuses not to build habits around the club weekly.
– The library: We officially call it the Library of Deep Work & Focus. There’s nothing else like it. It’s quiet and focused and reminiscent of your grad school library. No phone calls, no zooms. A place to knock out “4 hours of work in 2 hours.” People love it and keep coming back to it. Cabbagetown was our first library and we’re including them in every space going forward.
– Music and a strong point of view on music at Switchyards: At the same time that people love the library, the other half our neighborhood work clubs are a buzzier cafe space where we encourage members to have in-person conversations or meetings without having to whisper. As a result, we’ve been very thoughtful about sound, genres of music, and volume levels throughout the space. It’s a squishy topic and one we’ve developed a strong point of view on.
Hey Nashville, Check It Out
Want to check out the location for yourself? The club (located at 1101 Chapel Ave, Nashville, TN, 37206) will officially open on September 13. Membership sales will begin on August 15. The price of membership is $100 per month, which allows 24/7 access to any Switchyards location.