Thanks, Doug. That was the kind of feedback I was looking for.
I think what we may do for now is closer to what you suggested. We are going to move to a space that is in between what we have now and the huge space that I want, but I think we'll be in touch with the local high school & college photography instructors and students to see if anyone wants to rent space & equipment by the hour--we've pretty much come to the conclusion that you put forth that forming a co-op at this stage is a pretty big step. The big space we looked at was several hundred dollars a month, which was just too much to consider at this point, since we are both amateurs and still learning our lighting. At less than $300 a month we can get the medium-sized space and make a go of it. If we can find any other local photographers or students to use the space when we're not, and compensate us for its use, I think we'll be able to skate by without going broke.
I really appreciate your reply, and I'll check out that PPA thing you mentioned, and see if anyone is listed around here. We're in a pretty small town (about 12,000 or so population), on an island, and there are no local camera clubs that I know of (hmmm... maybe that's a clue that we should *start* one)...
Happy New Year, and talk to you again soon!
Mike in Alaska