#epicfail: Review of EpicSpaces, Pasadena

Fantastic location and ergonomic office chairs, but tacky, college dorm room posters on the walls, a high school color scheme (red and blue), and disappointing management are what you will find at EpicSpaces Co-Working. And maybe the lowest prices in town.

Pros and Cons (tips to finding a co-working space at end of this article):

-A collaborative, innovative culture does not exist here yet, despite two years in operation. I felt that they just don’t “get it” unlike WeWork, Cross Campus, and Blank Spaces. There are occasionally Meetup groups though. EpicSpaces in its current state is more like corporate office space rentals, rather than co-working. Their social media also pained me to look at.

-The aesthetics of Epic Spaces pales in comparison to other more established co-working spaces where design is a priority and helps boost creativity and impresses clients. Here, tacky HUGE posters of Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Jobs, Madonna, etc hang on the walls. It’s embarrassing. The very bright, red and blue color scheme is a surprising choice (my partner from Hong Kong laughed at it), and the lounge area furniture is shameful. The place feels skimped on to save money. I even saw Ross price tags still stuck on some of the decor! Horrifying.

-Working late at night at Epic is a safety concern. There were a few odd creatures/men hanging around at night, to the point where I felt unsafe and left. Most here work traditional 9-5 hours.

-The a/c is shut off at night and all day on Sundays. Saturday a/c is limited unless you want to pay hourly for it. In the summer Pasadena months, the lack of a/c and air circulation made it unbearable to work here (so you truly don’t get the 24/7 experience they advertise). However, if you like a Bikram yoga, sweat lodge feel, then this is your place. Let’s hope they turn on the heat in the winter. Apparently, Cross Campus runs a/c at night and on the weekends, WeWork does not. (Why? Something about Class A buildings.)

-There was a basic lack of amenities here that are common in many co-working spaces: stapler, paper clips (throw was a bone), hot water spout, free printing, the ability to book conference rooms online… But there is a kitchen with coffee, tea, fridge, dishes in it, and it appeared you could leave your dirty dishes in the sink with no shame. Epic’s desks are not configured with outlets, so cords can get messy. I rented a desk there, not an office space, to clarify.

-Management has not been as honest nor professional as one would expect. They charged me a significantly higher price than their promotional price, and when I asked for the same deal (promo was still going on), they said that I would be getting a better deal in the long term. Then I find out by reading a Yelp review that the promo price is still being honored. But apparently the bad apples who sold me my lease are now gone.

-I left this space three months ago, and I still have not received my overpriced key deposit despite repeated inquiries for it. Also, there was confusion over my contract where Epic said I had signed a year lease and tried to intimidate me into staying when this was clearly false. I had to tell them I was filling out a Better Business Bureau complaint when Epic finally returned my 100th inquiry, after passing the buck, not one but four times. (Shout out to the custodians and Fidel though.)

-Street parking is incredibly easy here with paid parking underneath. I miss the beautiful building exterior and the fantastic Playhouse location (Target, Laemmle, Vromans) which is terrific for walking breaks. See Pasadena’s “New Orleans” in the Green Street Village area.

-Perhaps the nicest “perk” of this place is the plentiful natural light. Also it is a truly fantastic location.

-There are ambitious people working here, many with connections to Asia, and Alibaba consumes the top floor of the Playhouse building. The co-workers at Epic skew to an older demographic.

-The space is not crowded because of a lack of clients and it is very quiet. WeWork plays music in the common area, but WeWork also has free beer on tap and a totally different, modern feel. You have to see it.

It might seem like I hate this place, I don’t—I did have a very productive few months here and made a few good contacts.

If you tour Epic, try to work with management to get the best deal possible since they obviously still lack clients, and just may be the best deal in town. But also shop around. So far in Pasadena, there appear to be four co-working businesses: Epic, WeWork, Cross Campus, SpaceCraft. Co-working pioneer BlankSpaces was supposed to open on Colorado Blvd next to Urth Cafe; I don’t know what happened to it—I was looking forward to it.

Tips: Try Deskpass to find co-working spaces around Los Angeles and more. Deskpass is like the Airbnb of co-working and is fun. Also, join the Cowork LA Meetup group for free co-working days around LA. And many co-working spaces offer a free trial days.

There are also many beautiful and free spaces in Pasadena, but those are my secret gems—message me if you want them.

The one star for Epic is because of management.

This review also lives on Yelp.

Co-Working Space Reviews for Pasadena and Los Angeles

I have revived my old bog to review co-working spaces in the Pasadena and Los Angeles area. Co-working spaces are shared office spaces / work areas for entrepreneurs, techies, writers, etc. Most make serious efforts to create unique cultures and innovative, modern environments. And then some spaces do not. See reviews below. To find the space that is just right for you is like Goldilocks and the Three Bears. Eventually, you will find your match. And I hope to help you do so.

Stay tuned.

Alhambra Chicago Style Popcorn

Ever since I first tasted Garrett’s Chicago Mix while in Chicago, I have been trying to find a similar creation in the San Gabriel Valley.  The mall popcorn stands just can’t capture the warm, oily, cheesy caramel-y goodness that is the Chicago Mix.  The mix has to be served hot, fresh, and greasy.  Well, finally, I found a good substitute – at the Kettle Korn stand at the Alhambra Farmer’s Market!  It’s not quite Chicago style but close enough.  And it was served hot and fresh.  $6 for a good size bag.  I was in heaven all day.  True Chicago Style has separate cheese corn and caramel corn mixed together, but the Alhambra version has the cheese and caramel mixed together on one kernel.  Still works for me.

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Friday Night Food Fair Fun in Pasadena

Last Friday I checked out the Food Fair and Artisanal Marketplace at the Chefs Center in Pasadena.  I really went because I needed another samosa roll fix from Ma Jasmin’s.  (Tip – the samosa rolls are $1 less at the Alhambra Farmer’s Market on Sunday.)  I also ate a delicious chocolate chip cookie called The Holy Grail.  This cookie was so large that I only ate part of it and refrigerated it for the next day.  The chilled cookie was perhaps even more delicious the next day.

Tons of people came out for the Food Fair.  Lines grew long and it was hot, but still it was a fun outing and I recommend this as a lovely way to kick off the weekend with your friends.  The Center has picnic tables outside and cooler indoor seating.  It’s also fun to look around their kitchens.  The Chefs Center helps people launch their food business dreams.  Many of the artisanal vendors gave out tasty samples – jams, cupcakes, sweets.  The only downside – other than the crowds – is the price.  The trucks charge restaurant prices – yes, I know these gourmet trucks need to make money – but why charge a restaurant price when there is no restaurant overhead?   Cut us some slack and take a buck or so off the price.  I think people who pay $7 for a banh mi are crazy.  Nevertheless, I probably will mosey on out for tomorrow’s fair to grab a grilled cheese sandwich.  Friday’s trucks will be:

> Slammin’ Sliders (menu)

> KO Tacos (menu)

> Flying Pig (menu)

> Coolhaus (menu)

> Grilled Cheese (menu)

> Greasy Wiener (menu)

Check out the Chefs Center site for more details.

The Food Fairs run till October 2011 and are on Fridays from 6-9 pm.  Parking is on the street.   45 N. San Gabriel Boulevard at Colorado in Pasadena.

Here are pics from last Friday’s fair (7/1/11):

Ma Jasmin’s

After reading about Ma Jasmin’s on Wandering Chopsticks’ Twitter feed, I knew I had to try it. Here they are below at the Alhambra Farmer’s Market, Sundays from 8:30 am to 1 pm.  I loved their samosa rolls – the spinach and cheddar was delicious globs of Indian spinach and good ol’ cheddar wrapped like an eggroll – a great combo!   The beef and potato samosa roll was also quite tasty.  I should have taken a picture of the rolls opened but I couldn’t control myself after one bite and inhaled them both.  I read on other blogs that Ma Jasmin’s is British Indian food.  I loooved loooved it and will be back to try their whole menu.  In fact, I found out that they participate in the Chef’s Center’s Friday Food Fair in Pasadena.  Can’t wait for my next fix!

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