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STURGIS | After leaving her engineering job with the Fermi Research Alliance connected to a project at the Sanford Underground Research Facility, Emily Costopoulos decided to open her own photography, film and design business.

Many aspiring entrepreneurs dream of working from home, but Costopoulos soon learned working from the home she shares with her husband Levi in Boulder Canyon wasn’t working so well for her.

Seeking an affordable workspace away from home meant a commute either to a nearby coffee shop in Spearfish, or to Rapid City, where Costopoulos is a member of The OWN, a cooperative, networking office-sharing space catering to women small-business owners.

Why, Costopoulos asked, couldn’t there be a similar office- sharing space in Sturgis?

Answering her own question, she worked with building owner Ray Dvorak and opened The Local at 1064 Main St. in downtown Sturgis on Jan. 1.

The Local is patterned after The OWN, offering entrepreneurs and professionals a small office space, assistance with web and social media marketing, and networking opportunities.

“I just want it to be a space for Sturgis, a really unique area where people need to come through here to get to other parts of the Hills,” Costopoulos said.

“To have something that’s community-oriented and on Main Street in Sturgis, with the history of the (motorcycle) rally, this sends a really powerful message of how important the community still is,” she said.

Like other non-rally business owners on Main Street, Costopoulos will move out of the building for a month in late July and early August for rally-related businesses.

Her husband, Levi, used his construction skills to build tables and other furnishings to maintain the rustic “industrial chic” atmosphere.

She employed the services of a design psychologist from Rapid City to offer some privacy while maintaining the cooperative atmosphere of the space.

As examples, conversation and work areas are separated by indoor plant stands or open shelving to keep an open feel.  

“We had to get creative to make some spatial separation,” said Costopoulos, who grew up in San Diego and holds an environmental engineering degree from the Colorado School of Mines.

The Local offers two main levels of monthly membership, ranging from one-day office space to unlimited office availability, along with networking and social media marketing. Day passes and as-needed access to seminars and workshops are also available.

Check out thelocalsturgis.com, check out their Facebook page, or call 605-549-5737 for more information.

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