John James Wants to Turn Old Post Office into Startup Hub

John James Wants to Turn Old Post Office into Startup Hub
If all goes to plan, the Old Post Office building on the Fayetteville square will become home to a co-working space and startup hub. (Ryan Miller)

John James, the Acumen Brands founder who now focuses most of his time on launching Hayseed Ventures in Fayetteville, has a vision for the historic Old Post Office building that anchors the Fayetteville downtown square.

He sees the OPO basement as a startup hub and co-working space, and Hayseed, which now occupies part of the building, has launched a Kickstarter campaign to gauge community interest in such a role. 

The campaign aims to raise $25,000 by June 19, and so far 13 backers have pledged $930.

James and Hayseed will match what's raised through Kickstarter "a minimum of three times over and cover the annual operating budget of the facility," said Brandi Mikula, a member of the Arkansas Fellowship program who is handling community outreach for Hayseed.

"Our goal is to create a startup hub in downtown Fayetteville, where entrepreneurs have all the resources they need to thrive," Mikula said. "In addition to functioning as a co-working space, the basement will host educational events such as startup schools, a free lecture series, pitch events, etc."

Mikula pointed us to a recent Kauffman Foundation report that found startup density to be an integral part of a healthy startup ecosystem.

"Through this space and several other upcoming projects around the Fayetteville square, we are seeking to artificially increase the density of local entrepreneurs collaborating with like-minded professionals," Mikula said.

Since the close of the Iceberg co-working space in downtown Fayetteville in 2014, many Fayetteville entrepreneurial activities have been hosted by Startup Junkie Consulting at Centerspace above the UA's Pryor Center on the square.

Hayseed wants to add to the square's entrepreneurial vibe.

"The space hasn’t been truly renovated for over 30 years and most of the building has been neglected," Mikula said. "To make the OPO a truly great place for entrepreneurs to thrive, we’ve got a lot of work to do, but the potential of this space is very exciting."

Check it all out, and if the spirit moves you, make a pledge, right here. And Mikula promises more details on Hayseed are forthcoming as well...