More Storefront 'Roommates' Splitting Space, Customers A growing number of small business owners are holding down costs by trying out a concept called "retail space sharing." But the economic marriages of convenience can also come with some some stresses.
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More Storefront 'Roommates' Splitting Space, Customers

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More Storefront 'Roommates' Splitting Space, Customers

More Storefront 'Roommates' Splitting Space, Customers

More Storefront 'Roommates' Splitting Space, Customers

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/393870622/393870623" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Toni Riffel, the coffee guy, and Sarah O'Brien, the pastry lover, didn't know each other before they came together to share this space in Atlanta's Grant Park neighborhood. Tom Nguyen/Flickr hide caption

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Tom Nguyen/Flickr

Toni Riffel, the coffee guy, and Sarah O'Brien, the pastry lover, didn't know each other before they came together to share this space in Atlanta's Grant Park neighborhood.

Tom Nguyen/Flickr

More businesses across the country are teaming up to share space and customers. And while the economic marriages of convenience can have real advantages, they also come with some some stresses.

Sarah O'Brien is the owner of the Little Tart Bakeshop in Atlanta and shares a space with Octane, a local coffee roaster. She describes the relationship like having a roommate.

"We have to split our bills, we have to split the cleaning duties. It's just like having a roommate, you know, without the chore chart," she says.

When it works, it works well — but not everything is perfect. In O'Brien's space, for example, customers have to do two transactions if they want a coffee from Octane and a croissant from her shop.

But those hang-ups aren't stopping other businesses from trying out the concept. The service Storefront matches people wanting to sell things with available space — and owner Erik Eliason says it's grown 500 percent each year since it started in 2012.

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