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Oddly, Staples introduces coworking space in their stores (really)

This Monday the office supplies retailer announced that it would turn some of its store space into office workspace at three pilot locations in the metro area of Boston.

It’s like sleeping in an IKEA

You may already be shopping at Staples for office supplies — or, like many consumers, you may be buying your notepads and ink cartridges online these days. However, soon you may be able to go to Staples for more than just office supplies, but for the office itself.

This Monday the office supplies retailer announced that it would turn some of its store space into office workspace at three pilot locations in the metro area of Boston. Staples will collaborate with coworking startup Workbar. Workbar members pay a monthly fee to use a number of Boston-area workspace locations. Workbar facilities include offices, conference rooms, private meeting rooms, WIFI access, and telephone services.

Trying to survive in an Amazon world

In-store traffic is slowing down at a lot of large retail stores as consumers are increasingly shopping online. Big box stores with oversized facilities are looking for creative ways to share their spaces, and bring in additional revenue. Department stores have already tried renting out parts of their stores to smaller retailers.

For example, Sears has shared its store space with the likes of Whole Foods and Dick’s Sporting Goods. Meanwhile Macy’s has rented space to the sports retailer Finish Line.

Time will tell

Staples could really use a boost, considering that its retail division has been on the decline. With sweeping up sales in all categories, Staples is hoping to compete by purchasing Office Depot, but they have yet to solidify the deal. Over 200 Staples locations have closed in the past two years, and the company announced last month that they would close another 50 of its 1,607 North American stores this year.

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On the other hand, Staples’ business services division, recently renamed Business Advantage from Staples, is still growing. Business services make up 40 percent of company sales, and will probably surpass retail sales in the next year.


Ellen Vessels, a Staff Writer at The American Genius, is respected for their wide range of work, with a focus on generational marketing and business trends. Ellen is also a performance artist when not writing, and has a passion for sustainability, social justice, and the arts.

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