When Larkin Garbee converted her tile business into the very first technology-focused coworking space in Richmond, she envisioned a space that would cultivate community and conversations.
Designed with the intention of encouraging human interactions, 804RVA has a been a space to not just work, but to build networks, form collaborations, and make friends.
The coworking space has not only seen entrepreneurs grow to become successful contributors to the Richmond business ecosystem, but it has also hosted over 900 private and public events. If you were a tech meetup, 804RVA was the place to bring your community once a month. Aside from meetups, 804RVA has hosted birthdays, weddings, baby showers, startup launch parties, corporate events, and nonprofit fundraisers – making it a true community space.
“804RVA is such an amazing community – one that we are grateful for and proud to have helped cultivate,” said Larkin Garbee, Founder & Chief Imagination Officer at 804RVA.
While Garbee was growing and building the 804RVA community, she was also becoming a champion for startups in Richmond. While running her coworking space, Garbee also co-founded Lighthouse Labs, Startup Virginia, and RVA Makerfest and has run a number of community building and startup based programs and events. Garbee’s work and accomplishments have led her to become the Interim Executive Director of Startup Champions Network (SCN), a National organization of ecosystem builders.
Because of the work, Garbee has been doing around ecosystem building, she knows how important coworking spaces and community gatherings are to startup ecosystems. The more entrepreneurs connect to their community and to other businesses, the more the economic benefits. And so, Garbee was ready to build something deeper.
Cabell Harris of WORK Labs was also looking for something more. As a cheerleader for the workforce, Cabell was looking for a new space, where his branding and advertising company could “make friends”, cultivate collaborations, and just be around other great minds.
“The vision is simple: Create work you love, with people you like, in a place you want to be,” said Cabell Harris, Founder, WORK Labs.
WORK Labs is well known in the Richmond advertising and branding community. Their intense creativity and unique style have won them recognition and awards for some of the biggest brands in the country.
The moment these two VCU grads connected to discuss launching their visions together, they knew they were going to be able to create something exciting. Harris brings his branding experience and well-developed WORK brand, strong affinity for workers, and eclectic style to the partnership while Larkin brings her community building experience and business acumen. And so, WORK & FRIENDS was born – the perfect marriage to celebrate collaboration, friends, and the future of work.
“We’re excited to announce that we will be rebranding as WORK & FRIENDS and will retire the 804RVA brand thanks to the new partnership with Cabell. 804RVA represents the true spirit of Richmond, and we are excited to bring that community to a new brand to allow us to continue to grow and expand our locations and offerings.” – Larkin Garbee
WORK & FRIENDS is not a new workspace, it’s more than space. At WORK & FRIENDS, you can make something, do something, and tap into a community.
“The future of work is changing and evolving and more and more it seems that friendships are being left out of the workplace. We want to change that. We want to bring people together, this is when the magic truly happens. We want to foster and nurture relationships.” says, Cabell Harris. “As Chaplain Ronnie Melancon once said, ‘Show me your friends and I’ll show you your future.”
Garbee and Harris have been working with Peter Fraser (another VCU grad) and have signed a lease at 1623 West Broad St., formally Marvin Lang. The space will be rebranded as WORK HQ for the WORK & FRIENDS community. This “WORK in Progress” is within walking distance from what was once 804 RVA (in the Fan Gallery building). The expanded footprint will allow them to extend their offerings to include dedicated WORK stations and WORK studios.
What once was 804RVA – at 1657 W. Broad will be rebranded as WORK Studios, a second location for private work studios, events, meetings, and training needs. The space currently houses VANCE and the soon to open Lantera Labs, a digital consultancy with an education arm that offers data science, marketing, and full-stack engineering boot camps. In the coming months, WORK Studios will also welcome an acupuncturist and Girls For A Change, who will be offering a new program that embraces the future of work by arming black girls with work skills and experience.
“Technology is redefining the future of work and creating pathways for women and minorities not just to have a voice or a seat at the table, but to be leaders and innovators in their fields,” Garbee continued. “As I continue my work of building inclusive entrepreneurial ecosystems, it’s exciting to see the new WORK Studios filling up with like-minded businesses and nonprofits. My hope is to intentionally create spaces and connections where people feel like they belong.”
Garbee and Harris have big plans for the WORK & FRIENDS brand and plan to spread it to other cities and towns in the future.