Something is coming to Langley and it’s going to be BiG!
Whidbey Telecom is opening its BiG GiG Langley Center in the Village by the Sea, which will educate the local community about the company’s ultra-fast Gigabit internet capability. The center, complete with a Whidbey Telecom history museum, shared co-work space, and BiG GiG information desk, will be located at 2nd Street and Anthes Avenue.
Whidbey Telecom Co-CEO George Henny stands in front of the construction site of the BiG GiG Langley Center.
“It’s a touch of the past, the present, and the future,” said Whidbey Telecom Co-CEO George Henny. “And it will transform Langley into one of the best connected, high-tech places to live and work.”
Incorporated in 1908, the telecommunications company has been helping Islanders communicate for the past century. In 1913, the headquarters resided in Langley near the corner of First Street and Anthes, next to the Langley State Bank.
In the 1950’s, Elizabeth Henny poses by the original Whidbey Telecom headquarters, which was located near the Corner of First Street and Anthes.
Sandwiched between the Langley Whale Center and the South Whidbey Historical Society Museum, the center will showcase antique Whidbey Telecom communications instruments and provide additional insight into South Whidbey history. South Whidbey Historical Museum president Bill Haroldson says the BiG GiG Langley Center will be a neat addition to this historical corner of Langley.
Henny hopes the center will act as a meeting point where South Whidbey Islanders can discover how new technology will help them thrive on Whidbey Island. The Gigabit internet, which can reach speeds up to 10 gigabits per second, will allow locals who telecommute to work even more efficiently from the island, resulting in fewer commute days. As a result, more dollars will be spent at local businesses, enhancing the local economy. The BiG GiG Langley Center will have outdoor seating options where visitors can work from the patio while using the gigabit internet and Wi-Fi.
A construction worker works on the inside of the BiG GiG Langley Center.
“We believe in friends serving friends,” Henny said.
The co-work in the BiG GiG Langley Center will act as a space for locals and visitors to work in an office environment. Clinton resident and project manager Tom Trimbath expressed the importance of these affordable offices. Many Whidbey residents commute, some to co-work spaces in Seattle. Keeping these commuters on South Whidbey will save them time and money. Instead of hours of commute, they can spend more time in the community, enhancing their quality of life.
Trimbath is a freelancer with a number of part-time positions. He is a frequent user of co-work spaces and appreciates the collaborative nature and productivity in these environments.
“Cowork is a fast-growing niche that really works for people who are working in coffee shops and libraries,” Trimbath said. “A cowork provides a lot of the things that you can’t get in those environments. You’re there to get things done.”
Co-works in Langley, including the Big GiG Langley Center, Fine Balance Imaging, and the South Whidbey Commons have plans to develop a consortium, which would share resources and a form of joint “membership” program. Together, the co-work spaces will provide a nice variety of amenities and hours of availability.
The BiG GiG Langley Center will feature a museum, co-work space, gigabit information desk, and outdoor work space. It is scheduled to open in December.
Langley Main Street Association (LMSA) president Janet Ploof believes the BiG GiG Langley Center renovations will add to the aesthetics and preservation of Langley. LMSA is a non-profit organization geared toward economic revitalization and historic preservation through community involvement. With the help of volunteers, LMSA landscapes the gardens throughout town, provides shuttle rides to visitors and locals in the summer, and organizes events, such as Deck the Doors and the Community Feast.
“Main Street looks forward to promoting Langley as a high speed internet town perfect for young families who want to live here and work from home,” Ploof said.
The BiG GiG Langley Center is scheduled to open its doors sometime in December.