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Why these 100,000-square-foot warehouses are designed like hip coworking spaces

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There’s an almost invisible ease by which companies have transitioned to e-commerce. Simple website templates and apps that handle payments and taxes remove almost every barrier to turning a physical business into an online store.

But at the back end of that e-commerce is the actual shipping of all those products so easily sold online: a space- and labor-intensive process that can quickly become unwieldy. It’s left some entrepreneurs swimming through cardboard boxes in garages and chasing down delivery vans for last-minute pickups.

[Photo: courtesy Saltbox]For companies of a certain size, operating off a couch or in a garage soon becomes unrealistic. But those same companies are still small enough that they don’t need the often cavernous space provided by most warehouses.

[Photo: courtesy Saltbox]“If you’re looking for a 1,000-square-foot warehouse, the fact is that doesn’t exist. Or 500 square feet, or 5,000 square feet,” says Tyler Scriven, a former e-commerce business owner who did the hunt for such a modestly sized space. That challenge led him to found Saltbox, which turns massive warehouses for single operators into subdivided spaces tailored to the more modest needs of up-and-coming e-commerce businesses. With built-in coworking spaces that offer the kinds of amenities one would find at WeWork, Saltbox offers space for businesses to do both smooth online sales and box-juggling order fulfillment.

[Photo: courtesy Saltbox]Saltbox, one of Fast Company’s Most Innovative Companies of 2022, now operates five of these spaces in cities like Dallas, Denver, and Atlanta, in warehouses that range from 45,000 square feet to more than 100,000 square feet. The company has more than 300 members running businesses from these subdivided warehouses, sharing resources like loading docks, racks, and forklifts while also having their own........

© Fast Company

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