Ensemble Coworking Planning Expansion in 2019

In her third year, Ensemble Coworking owner Tamara Payne adjusts to competition and life as an entrepreneur.

It’s been a full third year in business for Ensemble Coworking, the independent coworking spot at 1617 Park Place Ave. on the Near Southside. New competitors continued to enter Fort Worth, including WeWork and Craftwork Coffee Co., and Ensemble shed market share in the first two quarters. “You think you have it, and then that next guy comes in,” Payne, who opened Ensemble in April 2016, says. Her twin high school seniors graduated in the spring. And she and her business partner and co-founder Dawn Shannon parted ways, with Shannon deciding to go full time into business coaching. “She’s still a member here, we still lift each other, we still help each other,” says Payne, who with Shannon, won Fort Worth Inc.’s 2018 Entrepreneur of Excellence award in the Supporter of Entrepreneurship category.

Payne spent the third quarter taking a deep dive into Ensemble’s niche, compared to its competitors, and refocused on Ensemble’s positioning as a “collaborative business community, where people go to grow and scale their business, not just to rent a space.”

Payne invested in Ensemble’s offices in a strip center nestled between the Mistletoe Heights and Fairmount neighborhoods, adding windows to the rear tenant offices. “We’re going to paint the front of the building,” Payne says. Payne also served on the organizing committees for Fort Worth’s Startup Weekend, Startup Crawl and Global Entrepreneurship Week, and organized a women’s weekend for global week. She served as emcee for the Fort Worth Business Assistance Center 2018 Business Plan Competition and mentored the Johns Hopkins University team in TCU’s annual Richards Barrentine Values and Ventures international collegiate business plan competition.

Market share rebounded in the year’s second half, Payne says. “As an entrepreneur in a business that’s kind of getting chewed up by the big dogs, I lost sight of who we are,” she says. And 2019 promises to be a year of growth. “Ensemble 2 will be coming in 2019, and possibly Ensemble 3,” she says. Payne’s not saying where, other than, “It will be in the suburbs.”