Impact Hub Preparing Second Location

Even though Impact Hub Santa Barbara on State Street won’t have an “official” grand opening until next month, plans are under way to open a similar, as-yet-unnamed facility on Yanonali Street in the Funk Zone.

The second facility is larger – at 10,400 square feet – than the 7,500-square-foot State Street Impact Hub. The new location features 13 offices, more shared work space and two conference rooms. At one point it housed a church congregation.

“It’s all about the perfect space popping up,” said Impact Hub Santa Barbara co-founder Dan Ferrick. “You’re never going to find a place like that again in the Funk Zone.”

Situated just a stone’s throw from the beach, the new facility also will feature showers for those tenants who want to spend part of their working day in the Santa Barbara surf.

Like the downtown location, the new facility is surrounded by restaurants, shops and wine and beer-tasting rooms. It’s also near the Amtrak Station for those who want to head to Los Angeles or San Luis Obispo after work.

Ferrick said some people might wonder why another shared working space might open so soon after the establishment of the State Street facility. “Paul Orfalea believes that one plus one equals three,” Ferrick said of Impact Hub Santa Barbara’s key investor. “We will provide more amenities for our customers.”

The pent-up demand for more affordable, shared office space that developed after the recent recession has brought out many home-based enterprises that may have ventured out to local coffee shops for a while. But they did not have a true office space from which to work. It can be difficult to have a client meeting and be heard over the din of an espresso machine.

So, Ferrick said Impact Hub co-founders have faith that a second facility will draw even more entrepreneurs than the State Street location, which has succeeded in just a few months to not only bring in many tenants, but also throngs of attendees to a variety of events.

A recent two-day weekend event at the State Street Impact Hub drew 72 businesses and more than 1,000 attendees. The building was so full of vendors that some spilled out onto State Street to sell their wares. Organizers said they may want to have a similar event next year that may utilize both the State Street Impact Hub and the new facility in the Funk Zone.

The IHub at 1117 State St. has been a beehive of activity since July when it had a soft opening. Most recently, IHub has been the scene of a Mega Mixer put on by five business groups, which drew almost 500 people.

During a recent weekend, an IoT (Internet of Things) open house showcased about a dozen tech companies, including several housed in IHub. That daylong event drew an estimated 300 people coming and going.

Along with some other well-attended gatherings, IHub has been the scene of some less formal get-togethers in the so-called “Jungle Room.” Entrepreneurs often shared their war stories over a beer or glass of wine.

Another unique type of gathering at IHub are mentors sessions by a variety of business coach. The best known of these mentors is Kinko’s founder Paul Orfalea, who last year became IHub Santa Barbara’s key investor.