Staples is thinking outside the box with a new store format that highlights podcasting, community events and coworking spaces. The Staples Connect concept, which will be officially introduced in six Boston area stores on Feb. 5, offers experiences and solutions as well as a place to transact, Chain Store Age reported.
Mike Motz, CEO of Staples U.S. Retail, said per the announcement, “We recognize that the way people shop is changing, and with the launch of Staples Connect, we are adapting to fit the needs of our customers.” Motz continued, “Our customers are teachers, students of all ages, small business owners and side hustlers.”
The offerings include a 500-square-foot community space where shoppers can join or host events like workshops, speaker sessions and meetings. The store also offers a podcast studio where shoppers can make an appointment for a recording time.
The store also houses the Staples Studio coworking concept that the retailer has been launching in some Massachusetts locations, as well as three Canadian locations. The layout of products is centered on small business, home office and classroom solutions.
Each Staples Connect store also has printing and marketing services, TSA pre-check enrollment, technology services and professional services including tax, marketing, finance and legal.
In separate news, a report surfaced last year that Office Depot was experimenting with co-working by “quietly” creating three co-working spaces within existing brick-and-mortar stores. The spaces reportedly have private offices, hot desks and conference rooms that are said to be less costly than the likes of WeWork and Workbar.
At a suburban Chicago location, unlimited drop-in access is said to be $100. The least costly monthly membership in the municipality was $229, per reports at the time. Office Depot’s move into coworking could be significant, as the retailer has over 1,300 locations in the U.S., Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.