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How a woman's co-working community is rebounding amidst the pandemic

Posted at 6:58 AM, Jan 06, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-06 09:21:23-05

SHOREWOOD — It has been a roller coaster year for every profession. A co-working community for women not only survived during this pandemic but helped other female entrepreneurs thrive.

The owner of a cleaning business, a travel adviser, and a personal coach found the biggest resource this year was each other.

“Here I feel I can focus I can go to people for advice,” said Sarah Spencer, owner of North Shore Organic Services.

Even if they are just meeting once a week on Zoom.

“There’s something we go through every meeting is what's positive and what's negative,” said Niki Kremer, Owner of Via Travel Service.

Lisa Nelson, owner of Life Lift Coaching and Transitional Services adds how it has helped her, “Just knowing there are other women going through the same thing I am as a business owner.”

The community feel is what Shelia Long craved to create in Shorewood. Her co-working community space called Malamadoe has expanded five times in four years, “What we have in common is that were women and were here to really support one another,” said Long.

'Malama' means to protect in Hawaiian. 'Doe' represents women.

COVID-19 nearly took all of it away, “The main problem was that nobody wanted to meet with clients face to face so everybody went virtual.”

Long found a way to rebound by turning those conference rooms into private offices for growing businesses. Long says the county and state grants rolled in also, just in the nick of time, “There [are] so many downsides of the pandemic but there's always light at the end of the tunnel.”

This includes Sarah Spencer opening another business besides her cleaning company. She resells luxury items called Posh Collective, “Not that I don’t love cleaning or being a boss but I needed something that I wanted to do.”

Shelia is in the second season of her podcast Head of the Table which documents the ups and downs of owning a business. She is also writing a book about the incubator model she created — adding, “My real goal is that they [the businesses] grow and leave and that we continue to incubate more businesses.”

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