HAMMOND — A shared workspace that encourages collaboration is part of an overall effort to revive downtown as a hub for businesses in the digital age.

With the quirky moniker of greenCOW (Collaborative Open Workspace), the shared workspace at 5209 Hohman Ave. wants to take the co-working experience to a new level, said CEO Lee Watson.

“We provide help for people and small businesses. There’s no lease and no long-term commitment,” Watson said. “When you’re starting out, you have enough to think about.”

Open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, greenCOW features spaces that range from a coffee shop seating area to private offices. Two conference rooms provide internet technology for meetings and seminars, and a kitchen also offers hot coffee. It encompasses 8,000 square feet overall.

Access to the building after hours can also be arranged and permanent tenants have 24/7 access, Watson said.

Watson also wants to make it possible for users to work directly with representatives from mentoring organizations like the Service Corps of Retired Executives and the Indiana Small Business Development Center.

The Hammond Redevelopment Commission and the Development Corporation assisted greenCOW in getting started.

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An eclectic group currently occupying space includes a private investigator, a clinical psychologist and two U.S. Army veterans who provide assistance for fellow vets.

Don Shults is an accredited service officer for the Department of Veterans Affairs, and George Hannah recently began learning the ropes.

“They provide an awesome service,” Watson said.

Phylis Mamula originally designed the interior of the building 10 years ago in collaboration with the Hammond Development Corporation and Purdue University.

“When Lee came up with this concept, he asked me to upgrade the infrastructure and to upgrade the lighting to help the plants grow,” said Mamula, an interior designer who is also recommending specific furniture to enhance the collaborative open workplace.

There’s also a focus on art with works provided by Paul Henry’s Art Gallery, located adjacent to the building on Sibley St.

Learn more about greenCOW by visiting www.greenCOW.space or calling (219) 501-0501.