Experience Chehalis and Chehalis Coworks See Growth


During a Thursday morning meeting at the Port of Chehalis, Experience Chehalis Director Annalee Tobey gave the port commissioners a rundown of the program's successes as well as the recent growth at Chehalis Coworks over the past year.

Initially opened in 2018 and located on 478 North Market Blvd., Chehalis Coworks is a coworking office space complete with conference rooms, a printer, a copy machine and high-speed internet access among other amenities that anyone can rent.

“We have a 36% increase in revenue over last year right now. Our monthly memberships are at 28 right now, those are the folks that use it on a very regular basis with 264 community memberships. Those are folks that use it on a daily basis or rent the conference room, which is huge. Last year, there were 18 monthly memberships and 183 (community) memberships,” Tobey said.

Chehalis Coworks remained open during the pandemic, and while any businesses that did remain open saw declines, it still saw a steady stream of users.

“We really did still see folks coming in who were working from home but didn’t have the WiFi to do it at home,” Tobey said.

Aside from locals, she added there have been a lot more users coming from both Portland and Tacoma for business meetings. Businesses using the space are diverse as well, ranging from a jewelry business to tech businesses and podcasters.

Port of Chehalis Executive Director Lindsey Senter inquired about possible upgrades the port could assist with, such as adding a telephone room, but Tobey stated the only request they have from Chehalis Coworks users right now is for more big screen TVs.

“The small room functions pretty well as an area where people can take phone calls and most everybody has their earbuds in. I get that question a lot, ‘Can I take phone calls quietly, is it going to be disruptive?’ And that’s really not been an issue since everyone is just quietly doing their thing and they all have their earbuds on and are pretty focused,” Tobey said.

As for Experience Chehalis, the biggest adjustment this year has been changing its name from the Chehalis Community Renaissance Team back in March.

“Not only is the new name just easier for folks to understand as we’re explaining our program, but we also have a huge toolbox of graphic designs and images and T-shirts and pins and stickers, just scratching the surface on some of the fun aspects of incorporating the brand,” Tobey said.

The new name isn’t the only thing that’s changed this year though, as Experience Chehalis has been assisting in picking up the growing amount of litter the city has been seeing lately.

Trespassing incidents have been on the rise, and Experience Chehalis has been involved with helping provide security upgrades to businesses via a safety and security grant that’s good for a 75% reimbursement up to $1,000 for new locks, cameras and other security expenses.

“We know that this is a huge issue. We’re not looking to think we can solve this issue but our take on it is to protect businesses to the best of our ability and to offer resources where we can to provide education,” Tobey said.

She added Experience Chehalis has been talking with police, city and county officials as well as the Lewis County Gospel Mission to discuss other possible solutions for the issue. Tobey ended by thanking the Port of Chehalis for their continued support.