The Mill is the home of Bloomington’s thriving cowork community and the heart of our entrepreneurial ecosystem. We are a 501(c)(3) nonprofit led by a diverse board of entrepreneurs, nonprofit, and government representatives, and our operations are funded by membership fees, event space rentals, and generous donations from corporate sponsors and angel investors from the south-central Indiana region.
With 19,000 square feet of beautifully renovated, 103-year-old factory space in the downtown Trades District, The Mill is home to hundreds of individual members and dozens of companies. Our diverse members include innovators creating startups and small businesses as well as independent freelancers, creatives, and remote workers. Some choose The Mill for our coworking amenities and the great community; others join for specialized entrepreneurial support for accelerating their startups, pitching to investors, and securing capital. Our programs and events serve members, our thriving startup community, and the public at large.
Our mission is to help launch and accelerate high-potential companies.
Our vision is to become the center of coworking and entrepreneurship in Indiana.
The Mill began offering programming for startups and entrepreneurs in 2017. The Mill provides critical access: to a community of peers and mentors, to programs that accelerate innovative ideas and technologies into business concepts, to capacity-building resources, and to startup capital.
In November 2018, The Mill launched its membership-based coworking facility, where innovators, creatives, remote workers, entrepreneurs, and others benefit from like-minded community, seminars and mentoring.
With financial support from the City of Bloomington and the Redevelopment Commission for the building renovation (completed in 2018) and the initial standup period, we have a stated goal of becoming self-sufficient by the end of year three.
Our century-old, restored sawmill factory has a long history of significant economic contributions to the community. Originally built in 1915 by the Showers Brothers Company, it was then called the Dimension Mill. The Showers Brothers Company, founded in 1868, had an illustrious influence on Bloomington history. At its peak in the 1920s, Showers was producing more than half of all the furniture in the United States – more than 700,000 pieces of furniture a year! It was one of the first US furniture factories to employ women and more African Americans than others of its time. As a cultural shift toward homeownership spread through the nation, the Showers Brothers Company saw great success.
The onset of the Great Depression changed the course for the Showers Brothers, but their legacy lives on in some of Bloomington’s most iconic buildings. The Mill features a unique sawtooth roof and original brick walls, and its west side follows a now extinct railroad track. Indiana University owned and used the building from 1959-1994, when it was bought by the City of Bloomington. It sat vacant for many years, until a new vision for the building crystallized, and the City of Bloomington took a bold step forward and invested millions in its renovation.
Today the Showers factory complex is the Trades District, Bloomington’s 12-acre technology park–the heart of an economic revolution toward entrepreneurship and technology. In 2018, the community celebrated a game-changing addition to the Trades District with the launch of The Mill.
Our beautiful building represents both a preservation of historical legacy and a modern revitalization of Bloomington’s business scene. The Mill is a living icon of Bloomington’s past, present, and future, guided by its vision to become the center of coworking and entrepreneurship in Indiana.
The organization is headed by our Executive Director, Pat East, who is also an angel investor and former CEO of Hanapin Marketing.
The Mill is committed to being entrepreneur-led: two-thirds of our board members represent technology- and innovation-driven companies, including Mill members and graduates. Our other board members bring expertise in economic development, local government, higher education and venture capital.
- Michelle Cole, Chair | COO, Envisage Technologies*
- Warren Cutshall | General Counsel, Miller Real Estate*
- Forrest Fowler | Co-Founder, Cowork Btown and Managing Partner, Sid3car
- John Hamilton | Mayor, City of Bloomington
- Tyler Henke | Co-Founder, Cowork Btown and CEO, Ziptility
- Jen Pearl | President and CEO, Bloomington Economic Development Corporation*
- Tina Peterson | President and CEO, Community Foundation of Bloomington and Monroe County and CEO, Regional Opportunity Initiatives
- Erin Predmore | President and CEO, The Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce*
- Ben Swanson | Co-Founder, Secretly Group
- Ellie Symes | Co-Founder and CEO, The Bee Corp
- Mike Trotzke | CEO, Cheddar*
- Jennie Vaughan | Chancellor, Ivy Tech Community College-Bloomington
- Jason Whitney | Associate Vice President, IU Ventures, and Executive Director, IU Angel Network
- Brad Wisler | Founder and CEO, Periodic
* Members of the Executive Committee
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