Made in Uptown: The Shift

The Shift, the co-working space in Uptown’s Buena Park, opened in 2014 and has quickly been embraced by local work-at-home professionals, artists, students, and entrepreneurs. Uptown United chatted with owner Nicole Vasquez about what brought her to Uptown and her plans for growing the Shift concept in other communities.

The Shift, once a dry cleaner, was transformed in just a few months, even taking advantage of Uptown SSA’s Façade Rebate program. Nicole says that, as an entrepreneur, she had to figure things out as she went along to realize her vision. The persistence paid off, as the space filled up quickly, requiring extensive renovations in 2015 to add more private spaces and more desks to make it more functional.

Nicole always wanted to be a business owner and while she’s dabbled in events and photography, the co-working concept was her first foray into a full time business. She saw spaces just like it popping up and, sensing that most people don’t want to work at home alone, she was certain that the model would become a new way of working.

Why do business in Uptown? Nicole knew she wanted to bring co-working to Uptown. Having lived in Uptown for eight years, she knew the area well and even though she looked at 10 other spaces, she settled on Buena Park, choosing it based on need. At the heart of Uptown, close to transit, in a highly residential area, and without similar options, the location was ideal.

More than just co-working. The Shift also regularly hosts classes, workshops, and events focused on professional development and personal improvement. And while most events are for members only, the Shift holds at least one class a month open to the public – most are just $15 and some are free to keep them accessible.

It also sends out a bi-monthly newsletter of helpful articles, highlights of its members, and local “news you can use.” The Shift encourages its members to share their work and learn from each other, billing itself as a community of creative people where “ideas collide, and connections are made.”

The Shift gives back. Each month, Nicole donates to a running list of Uptown non-profits such as Sarah’s Circle, Refugee ONE, Chinese Mutual Aid Association, and others. For her, it’s a personal choice as a business owner to support people doing great work in the adjacent community. Doing so is just a small way to support people who can do great things in the neighborhood.

What’s next? Recently, The Shift expanded to a second location in Logan Square. The Second Shift shares the same mission to support, promote, and connect its members.
So check out the Shift’s event calendar, stay connected to via its newsletter, and join the co-working movement to “get Shift done.”