With rent and space both at a premium in downtown Boise, more local businesses are starting to adopt a new concept that involves sharing space and rent.
Many ground level retailers -- restaurants, stores and salons -- are locally owned and it can be a tough market for small businesses trying to be compete with big chains.
Owners say this concept of sharing of building is a win-win for both them and their customers.
“It’s a cool business model that offers, just makes it more attractive, a better place to go,” said Lynn Hightower, the Executive Director for the Downtown Boise Association.
It started with Boise Fry Company on Capitol Boulevard and Idaho Street. The burger joint originally shared a building with Guru Donuts.
“Guru Donuts, their customers are coming in during the morning, they need the kitchen overnight. Boise Fry Company, they have an afternoon-evening business, so they found they could share a space, share a kitchen, and again it’s that collaborative effort that allows maximum use of their resources,” said Hightower.
Guru Donuts has since moved out and now Boise Fry Company uses the same concept with another breakfast spot, Waffle Me Up.
“For us it’s not really a clash or a competition but it’s more like expanding out menu for both of us and offering more of a selection to both of our customers. Some people will come in here and get some fries and burgers and then come over here and be like 'oh wow they have waffles,' and will come get some waffles,” said Andrew Hanebutt, marketing director for Boise Fry Company.
Hanebutt says the two businesses also share cleaning responsibilities and both enjoy renting at a lower rate.
“It really helps alleviate some of our rent for this building and the triple net costs,” said Hanebutt.
White Dog Brewing Company just opened their doors six weeks ago and caught onto this concept.
The brewery, Long Drop Hard Cider and Gas Lantern Drinking Company, are connected by a common area with bathrooms and an ATM.
While they don’t share the same room, all three businesses share customers.
“We're able to utilize each four companies marketing ability, so we are able to reach those marketing demographics,” says Dan Jordan, part owner at White Dog Brewing.
Gas Lantern Drinking Company is owned by two chefs who purchased a 30-foot food truck to be parked outside the building and serve all three businesses.
When White Dog moved in they got rid of the existing kitchen to make more room for brewing.
“To get people to stay longer the food really helps, but we don't have to deal with a kitchen so it’s a great pairing,” says Jordan.
Jordan says his business is better off sharing a space rather than being solo and thinks other small businesses will pick up on the concept.