When former construction-company owner Al Misale was on-site with his crew -- and away from his phone and fax lifelines -- communication with customers and suppliers tended to be arduous and hectic. Thus the inspiration for his recently launched venture, The Office Club, which provides a Web-based virtual office for the peripatetic business traveler.

For a monthly fee, road warriors can forward their phone calls, voice mail, faxes, and E-mail to an Office Club representative in Oak Brook, Ill. The rep converts the messages into text files that members can access via the club's Web site. (Members can also have everything read into an 800-number voice mailbox.) With a notebook computer and modem, travelers can quickly peruse correspondence and then E-mail their representative to make hotel reservations, say, or fax a customer. And while they're at the Web site, they can pop into the virtual storefronts of a dozen affiliated businesses -- including Motorola, Ameritech, and Mail Boxes Etc. -- that give preferential treatment to Office Club members.

-- Jerry Useem

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