DUNEDIN — Heather Miniello, 35, was running a successful bed and breakfast in Dunedin, selling real estate and taking care of her 4-year-old daughter, when several drastic changes last year caused her to reexamine her life and what she truly wanted to do.
After working with a life coach, who urged her to “dream big,” Miniello came up with an idea. What if she could create a place where people could come to work remotely, hang out, take classes and attend support groups? After learning about space available at the First United Methodist Church on Main Street, the idea of Hope Grove Co-Work and Care became a reality.
“My passion is community building and helping others,” Miniello said. “It’s a big risk for me. It’s very scary. But I thought if it is community-related it will thrive. If it’s small business related it will thrive.”
The 2,000-square-foot facility is open Monday through Friday for people to drop in, free of charge. There is free Wi-Fi and printing, coffee and tea. There are communal workspaces, individual workstations and two private offices are available.
Hope Grove is a nonprofit organization and relies on sponsorships, grants and rental fees from the therapists and teachers who use the space to operate the co-working facility.
Kate Danese operates Beyond Marketing and Operations from Hope Grove.
“I like that it is local, and you can take a break and walk outside around town and get local coffee or lunch and escape work for a minute,” Danese said.
Hope Grove also functions as a type of community center, offering opportunities for people to gather and attend workshops, classes and support groups led by local professionals.
“Professionals can come in and lead workshops and promote themselves for cheap or for free, so that they can grow their businesses,” Miniello said.
Some of the activities recently offered included a support group for divorced parents, Spanish language classes and a content creation workshop. There is also a support group called “Women Lifting Each Other.” The group has played an important role in the life of Hope Grove employee Maddie Jordan, who came out as a transgender female last year.
Jordan has found Hope Grove to be a huge part of her support system.
“I feel safe, welcome and comfortable here,” she said. “Hope Grove is a supportive and welcoming place for everyone.”
There is also an outdoor area at Hope Grove, where raised garden beds were recently built and are available for rent. Miniello would like to further develop the outdoor space into both a children’s playground and a play area for adults, with hammocks, adult swings, climbing structures and games.
“Hope Grove is for anybody and everybody,” she said. “Come play as much as you work and discover your inner child.”
Hope Grove Co-Work and Care is at 421 Main St. in Dunedin. Operating hours are Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., with scheduled workshops and classes in the evenings and on weekends. For more information, call 727-677-9917 or visit www.hopegrovecowork.com.