Staples isn’t just for office supplies or printing anymore. Three of the company’s Massachusetts stores now include happy hour, retro music and mod seating — that is, it’s adding coworking spaces.
Partnered with Boston-based Workbar, Staples’s coworking spaces feature hip music, funky art and a putting green. The pivot comes in response to years of staggering in-store sales and closures. This year, the company plans to shut down more than 70 of its locations, although it predicts a continued rise in online sales. Staples CEO Shira Goodman says she expects online sales to account for 80 percent of the company’s total revenue by 2020.
Repurposing their real estate for other uses, Staples seeks to revamp its reputation as a big-box retailer. “If you go to most people on the street and ask about Staples, they’d go, ‘Oh yeah, the office-products superstore.’ But the reality is that’s very far from where we are today, and even farther from where we want to be,” Goodman told Bloomberg.
And so far, so good. Since September, more than 200 people have signed up for memberships, which cost $130 a month. The company hasn’t revealed plans for more locations, but according to Bloomberg, Goodman hopes to “dominate the $80 billion-a-year U.S. midmarket, or businesses with fewer than 200 employees.”