Everything you ever wanted to know about the co-working space, Groundwork!…but were afraid to ask

The Quest Center at 1213 Purchase Street, New Bedford – home to Groundwork! The co-working space occupies the first floor along the building as pictured here and you enter through the street-level door in the middle on Maxfield Street.

NEW BEDFORD, MA – To the many people who have walked through its doors over the past year, GROUNDWORK! has become nothing less than the hub of the universe here in New Bedford.

But we recognize that some people are just learning about Groundwork!, and perhaps even the very concept of a co-working space. So, New Bedford Now is here to help. We’re going to tell you everything you ever wanted to know about Groundwork! and co-working in New Bedford…but were afraid to ask!

Groundwork! is a private business co-founded by Sarah Athanas and Dena Haden. After beginning life in late 2014 in a smaller beta space on the second floor of the Quest Center at 1213 Purchase Street, New Bedford, Groundwork! has kicked it into high gear following renovation of their 5,000+ square foot permanent home on the first floor of this historic building during 2015.

The Quest Center building is a collaborative partnership project between the City of New Bedford, acting through the New Bedford Economic Development Council, and the University of Massachusetts. The NBEDC website declares that “the intent of which is to create new companies with growth and job-generation potential in addition to complementing and extending the innovation and entrepreneurship capacity of the University of Massachusetts.” It was formerly the renowned New Bedford Textile Institute and was built over a century ago. Built to last, as buildings of the period were, and built for purpose across the years.

Today, Groundwork! is one of those purposes. The co-working space calls some of the city and region’s brightest entrepreneurial stars, brilliant businesses and dynamic organizations members. They all enjoy the experience of a shared office – without the high rent, stress and mind-numbing grind all too often associated with a traditional office.

Inside Groundwork!
Inside Groundwork!

In a co-working space, individuals and groups pay a monthly fee to claim space in a much larger, well-appointed space. Members come and go according to their own time-table – but the coffee is always brewed, the printer is always warmed up and the WiFi is secure and free. Tables, chairs, lounge areas and even a kitchen are part of the co-working package – as is a private conference room. You don’t need to bring anything here but yourself and a laptop.

Co-working spaces like Groundwork! have increasingly become popular across the country as more and more people freelance or, thanks to technology and the Internet, simply have no need to maintain a full-time office for their business or enterprise – yet need a space outside of their home to conduct business or simply get their work done. A good co-working space helps you focus and remain productive; a great one like Groundwork! helps set the agenda for the region.

Groundwork! does this in several ways. Besides being a beautiful environment in which to work, Sarah and Dena work hard to bring the community outside in to Groundwork! by hosting business-building networking meetings, productivity seminars, member activities and more. Like after-hours art exhibits, the New Bedford Bookfest and other special community events when the work day or week is done.

Groundwork! after dark: An art opening in the co-working space.
Groundwork! after dark: An art opening in the space this past January for Partner Projects.

Besides the above-stated benefits of a co-working space, Sarah and Dena have also had the foresight to go beyond what’s expected to offer the unexpected at Groundwork! And it’s the reason why it has become a hub for small business start-ups, technology innovators, private and civic entrepreneurs, sales and marketing specialists and more.


Groundwork! offers a full menu of options for using its co-working space. You can join as a full- or part-time member, or even drop in for a day at a time if you’d like.

But if you do drop in for a day, it’s likely you may not want to ever leave. The best part of Groundwork! is finding inspiration in its mission-driven atmosphere. Sarah and Dena have reclaimed an historic space in New Bedford history and positioned it – and its members – for the future.

That’s laying some pretty impressive Groundwork!

See the Groundwork! website, NewBedfordcoworking.com, for news, profiles, events and member rates. Latest blog posts run alongside this site to your left.