Entrepreneurs Need Not Apply
With limited parking, a steep monthly fee, and poor customer service, Stoke Denton leaves a lot to be desired and is an unexpected disappointment.
I have been trying to book a room with Stoke in Denton – a new community networking place for entrepreneurs. However, they just told me it would be $1500 to rent a room for 15-20 people on a Saturday. I thought maybe it was a typo so I called to confirm and they said, “No, unfortunately the Dallas Entrepreneur Center is handling the reservations and booking and if that if that is the price they said, that is the price.” That seems so unfortunate to me since I can rent an entire banquet hall for that price. I will probably end up using the library for my class, but, I’m sad that Denton has this great new space and then they are setting the prices at a point that excludes people from actually being able to use it.
http://stokedenton.com/memberships – if you look at this link I could get a membership for $250 a month that makes it appear that I would have access to use the conference room included in my membership – however, when I talked to Christina from the City of Denton she seemed to think that these prices would be changing since the Dallas Entrepreneur Center is taking over. I sure hope they reconsider. As a small business owner in Denton I was really looking forward to utilizing a cool space like Stoke.
After some back and forth with StokeDenton.com I finally decided to signup. $250 a month for a dedicated desk plus 24/7 access. However, when I reviewed the lease, you could only block out the conference room for 2 hours at a time. Fortunately, I talked to Julie and she said that it probably wouldn’t be a problem to book the room for 4 hours on a Saturday so that I could use it for my class that I hoped to teach. So things were moving along nicely… until they weren’t.
I signed the lease and paid the $250, but December was moving fast and it wasn’t until the second week that I was going to be able to get in to Stoke to use my desk space. $250 a month is expensive when I can just go sit at one of the local coffee shops and work all day for the cost of a latte. I actually like the buzz of the coffee shop (there is a website that plays coffee shop “white noise” that I love called Coffitivity) and mingling with people.
When I finally tried to use my desk at Stoke there wasn’t any parking. I drove around and around and there wasn’t anywhere to park! I realized that because of all the traffic in that area, that if there wasn’t a place for me to park then there surely wouldn’t be any place to park for my clients and customers. So I decided I needed to find another venue. The entire purpose for me to rent this space was to utilize a conference room (that didn’t have a projector when I needed one) and to have training classes for individuals that wanted to learn how to start their own businesses.
I finally asked for a refund and instead of giving me a refund for my unused space, I never even got an access key or any type of welcome or orientation letter, I was told that they would cancel my lease without charging me a fee for canceling without a 30 days notice. This came from Jill Scigliano who is in charge of The Dallas Entrepreneur Center. She treated me like someone from Dallas would treat someone else – as if she didn’t really have much time for me. She was also the lady that said it would cost $1500 to rent a space for one day for 5 hours. It seems to me that if you started a co-networking site for entrepreneurs that you would want to go the extra mile to help them out. It would be a win/win. There is so much opportunity to network in Denton, but I can do that at Eastside and West Oak Coffee bar and not have to pay for a place that doesn’t have any parking.
So I decided to put my business class on hold for now. I’ll find a good spot, with good parking because I want to take care of my people. To me customer service is number one. I want people to have a great experience with every interaction. Our goal is to always make people feel like they matter. In my interactions with Stoke I sort of felt like I was being a nuisance and that they really didn’t need my business. And maybe they don’t. Oh well, as Jay-Z says, I’m on to the next!