John James Wants to Open Startup Hub in Old Post Office
In case you missed it, Acumen Brands founder John James, who recently gave up his CEO position with the IA client firm to focus on his Hayseed Ventures, wants to turn the basement of the Old Post Office in Fayetteville into a startup hub.
The historic OPO anchors Fayetteville's downtown square.
James, who was named last month to the state's first computer science task force, announced earlier this year that he was stepping down as Acumen CEO, but retaining roles with the firm, so he could focus on his work with NewRoad Ventures and with launching Hayseed.
Hayseed will take over space in the OPO left by Acumen's Country Outfitters, which is moving to a new HQ in Fayetteville. James wants to turn the OPO basement into a co-working space and startup hub.
Fayetteville has been without a dedicated co-working space since the Iceberg closed in early 2014. Startup Junkie's Centerspace, above the UA's Pryor Center on the square, has served as the de facto startup space in the meantime.
Hayseed has launched a Kickstarter campaign to gauge community interest in the idea of a startup hub in the OPO. Brandi Mikula, an Arkansas Fellowship intern who is handling community outreach for Hayseed, said Hayseed will match whatever's raised on Kickstarter a minimum of three times over and then cover the annual operating budget of the facility.
"Through this space and several other upcoming projects around the Fayetteville square, we are seeking to artificially increase the density of local entrepreneurs collaborating with like-minded professionals," she told AB. "The space hasn’t been truly renovated for over 30 years and most of the building has been neglected. To make the OPO a truly great place for entrepreneurs to thrive, we’ve got a lot of work to do, but the potential of this space is very exciting."
Stay tuned. More to come on this and on Hayseed's upcoming official launch. Plus, check out next week's AB for a look at some of IA's more successful client firms including Acumen.