Staples and office-sharing company Workbar Monday announced a partnership that will offer office space in three Boston-area Staples locations: Danvers, Norwood, and Brighton.
Each space will be between 2,500 and 3,500 square feet and offer Workbar’s mix of high-end workspaces, conference rooms, private phone rooms, fast and secure Wi-Fi, printers, and unlimited coffee and tea.
The Staples Workbar spaces will be operated by Workbar; financial details of the partnership weren’t disclosed.
Staples seems to have stumbled on a perfect use of its excess retail space. The partnership will bring in people who need temporary, longer term office space or a conference room, who could also use the access to the retailer’s goods and copy services. Workbar members will automatically be enrolled in the “Premier Level” of Staples rewards program.
It’s the kind of development that takes advantage of the gig economy and makes good use of Staples' store space while also maintaining its own raison d’être as a retailer.
“At Staples, the Workbar space will be a great complement to our existing suite of business relevant products and services," Peter Scala, executive vice president merchandising at Staples, said in a statement.
And Workbar CEO and co-founder Bill Jacobson said that the suburban Staples locations, with their parking lots and reach in the suburbs, brings that company’s perks to a wider clientele. Workbar, like its rivals in the co-working facilities space, has sited most of its locations in urban areas.
As the Wall Street Journal points out, Staples isn't the first retailer to lease part of its stores to outside companies. Macy's and Sears, both retailers that have seen store closings in the past years, have also transitioned sections of their stores into Whole Foods, Forever 21, Dick's Sporting Goods, and Primark spaces, as well as office space. It's all part of an effort to extract value from these retailers' large network of stores as foot traffic continues to fall thanks to the rise of e-commerce.