Switchyards is opening Adair Park and Chamblee locations in April 2023.

Switchyards is opening two new locations next month: Chamblee is opening on April 12 and Adair Park is scheduled for April 21. 

The “neighborhood work club” won’t stop there. Switchyards raised $2.6 million in funding this year according to an SEC filing, and Founder and CEO Michael Tavani said the company has plans to expand to another state this year. 

Tavani, formerly of Scoutmob, grew up in Dunwoody and graduated from the University of Georgia. He attended law school at Barry University in Orlando, Fla. 

With 2,000 members and locations in Buckhead, Westside, Cabbagetown, Downtown Atlanta, Decatur, and Virginia-Highland, each club has a polished yet comfortable vibe. Virginia Highland is intimate and eclectic, a vertical space with an alley entrance. Buckhead is on the ground floor of a 1980s concrete office park – different from anything the company had previously transformed.  

At all of the clubs, the coffee is hot and the music is mellow. There’s an element of “surprise and delight,” as Tavani calls it, like obscure periodicals or vintage posters. 

“A member has to come to Switchyards and feel like, ‘I want to spend some time here. This is better than my house’ or, ‘This is a better environment than my office.’ We’re going to lose out if we don’t do a good job of that,” said Tavani. 

The original location, which opened in 2016, is smack in the middle of Downtown Atlanta on Ted Turner Drive and Williams Street.  

“We never used the word ‘coworking’ to describe Switchyards. I think that word means a lot of things to a lot of different people. It’s kind of like the word ‘incubator.’ It’s so broad it doesn’t necessarily mean anything,” Tavani said. 

When Covid-19 forced working and schooling from home in 2020, Switchyards took a 14-month hiatus. Memberships were paused. The company had no incoming revenue. As more and more companies were closing their offices with no reopening in sight, Switchyards saw an opportunity.

“No one knew how much of an impact Covid was going to have and how long it was going to last, but we had a realization early on that it was shifting the world toward what we were already doing. We knew it could be a real accelerator for Switchyards if we could hang around long enough to get through it,” said Tavani.

He realized Switchyards would only have one chance to reopen and reintroduce themselves in the “new world.” They opened up again in May 2021 when vaccines were becoming more widely available. 

The company shifted its focus to finding “weird second-generation spaces” and readying them for a quick turnaround. For example, the team got the keys to the Virginia-Highland location on Jan. 3 and opened to members on Feb. 3. 

“It’s fun to create a physical product. With ScoutMob, you could look at the analytics of how people are using it, but with this you can actually see human beings use Switchyards in real life. So that’s pretty gratifying,” said Tavani. “We think about the senses: What are you smelling? What are you hearing? What are you seeing?” 

Switchyards is a new type of third place: the spot where people spend time between their first place (home) and their second place (work). It’s a concept coined by psychologist Ray Oldenburg.

“Once people experience it, they’re like, ‘Oh, that’s exactly what I needed,’” Tavani said.

Go deeper on Switchyards

A day in the life of Michael Tavani

Switchyards expanding to Buckhead

Five ways to grow your network

Logan C. Ritchie writes features and covers Brookhaven for Rough Draft Atlanta.