GCUC Podcast: A Texas built boutique coworking brand

By Stormy McBride On November 9, 2020 In CoworkingFuture of WorkGCUC Podcast

Liz Elam interviewed Nick Clark, founder and CEO at Common Desk in this exciting episode of the GCUC Podcast. Nick reminisces about being swept off his feet by coworking, how GCUC helped stoke that fire, and how he keeps Common Desk true to their mission. Common Desk started as a brand in the Deep Ellum suburb of Dallas, Texas all the way back in 2012.

Find out where they’ve been and where they’re going with these juicy sound bites:

It’s been a year. As an entrepreneur, it’s been a year. It’s been a weird year of having to operate spaces that are closed down which is harder than operating spaces that are open. I’ve seen keeping up people’s morale as my biggest job at this point this year. Just continuing to check up on people. –Nick Clark, Founder and CEO at Common Desk

Everything just keeps getting pushed and pushed and pushed. –Liz Elam, Founder at GCUC

Morale has been a tough thing to manage as a leader this year. It’s been a big focus with our corporate team making sure people are hanging in there. Making sure they still believe in the mission of Common Desk, what we’re trying to do and continuing to move things forward. –Nick Clark, Founder and CEO at Common Desk

I really feel like I’ve been on a roller coaster and I thought I knew when the ride was over and now I don’t know when I’m getting off of it. –Liz Elam, Founder at GCUC

Common Desk’s mission is to enhance every workday by creating thoughtful moments, human interactions, and a sense of belonging–for all. –Nick Clark, Founder and CEO at Common Desk

Obviously, there’s COVID but in this country we’ve dealt with a lot more issues with racism and riots. Something that we’ve really been able to lean on as a company is those last two words of our mission statement. FOR ALL. It was kind of a rallying cry for Common Desk this year and it really brought us together. –Nick Clark, Founder and CEO at Common Desk

We’re still trying to find ways to make room for fun. Common Desk really values fun and values the weird side of who we are, so we’ve really tried to make time for that. It’s just looked a little different in 2020 than it has in the past. Thankfully, it hasn’t been lost with everything else we’ve had to navigate through. –Nick Clark, Founder and CEO at Common Desk

I think GCUC’s role in the pandemic is really one of offering hope and education. That’s what we’ve been trying to do during this time. –Liz Elam, Founder at GCUC

My staff would say my superpower is defusing a room. If I walk into a board room and I’m feeling a little antsy and I can tell the room has a bit of an edge to it, I come up with some outlandish, weird story that just kind gets everybody laughing before we get into business. It gets everybody comfortable and gets everybody moving forward. –Nick Clark, Founder and CEO at Common Desk

One thing we’re trying to do at GCUC is foster coworking around the world. –Liz Elam, Founder at GCUC

It was early 2012 and I quit my job in commercial real estate and my initial endeavors of that third party property management company fell flat on its face. During that time I discovered coworking and absolutely fell in love with it. I’m not a love at first sight guy but I did fall in love with coworking right off the bat. I thought there was something magical to it. –Nick Clark, Founder and CEO at Common Desk

That conference (GCUC) changed my life. Common Desk would’ve never gotten off the ground without GCUC. It takes a tribe to get a company off the ground and I was able to meet my people and peers. –Nick Clark, Founder and CEO at Common Desk

I love our meeting story because it all came full circle not too long ago when I sold my coworking brand to Nick. So you never know what can happen at GCUC. –Liz Elam, Founder at GCUC

It is the vision of what the future of Common Desk will look like. A landlord handed us an entire 100-year-old brick and mortar, old timber building to program, design, manage and operate everything. The entire second floor is dedicated coworking, the third floor is fully furnished team suites. But the first floor is anchored by our coffee brand, Fiction Coffee, with a full coffee experience. It will look, feel and operate like a really cool boutique hotel but with a couple bookable conference rooms and different retail opportunities for some cool restaurants. It will be a truly holistic offering. –Nick Clark, Founder and CEO at Common Desk

It’s a bad idea to expand into a new market without a good game plan. So we’ve been very careful with not being too opportunistic with our expansion. –Nick Clark, Founder and CEO at Common Desk

There are really sexy opportunities that are going to come your way and a set of the winners will be the ones that say no. –Liz Elam, Founder at GCUC

We are one of the larger coworking companies out of the south and we enjoy being a southern company. North Carolina is the opposite side of the book end of the southeast. We really anchor Texas so now we want to anchor North Carolina. –Nick Clark, Founder and CEO at Common Desk

I feel like you’re going to go national. I’m just going to go ahead and predict that now. There’s either really big brands, really small brands, and there’s only a few like Common Desk that are hanging out there in the middle. Those in the middle, once this pandemic is over – the number of landlords coming at you wanting you to help them do this “flexible” thing is going to be off the charts. –Liz Elam, Founder at GCUC

Everything that’s happened in 2020 is going to do nothing but add kerosene to the fire of coworking and flex office. –Nick Clark, Founder and CEO at Common Desk

Mark my words we’re going to look back in about 2-3 years, on this pandemic, where we all had to stay home for so long and we’re going to say that was great. Because of reconnection and slowing us down. There will come a time when we will be saying positive things about this. –Liz Elam, Founder at GCUC

Click HERE to listen to the full podcast with Liz Elam and Nick Clark. It’s juicy!