It's a New Year, which means one of two things. We look forward & we reflect on the past.
Many of us business owners have had our fair share of "learning experiences," in which something chaotic or catastrophic happens & we, for lack of option, learn from it.
In early July of 2016, on a warm Mid-Western Saturday morning we, (Brenda, co-owner, resident graphic artist & web-developer & my lovely wife) hopped in my car & headed in to the office to grab a few things to work on over the weekend. (Yes, we too work weekends...) Upon walking to the front door of our brick & mortar like store front, I noticed through the glass door that there was a bit of debris on the ground in the middle of our office. I immediately assumed there was a a break in, took a step back to decide if I should first call the police, or enter our office. It was then, after a moment's clarity, that I realized that the ceiling had collapsed in the middle of the office.
Now at this point, you may be asking yourselves, "where on EARTH is this going...?" Sit tight & remember, I am in marketing & advertising...which means I simply can't tell a story without details, creativity & flare.
As we entered the office, we came to the conclusion that the ceiling was unstable, as it was lath & plaster (a building process used to mainly finish interior walls & ceiling in Canada & the US until the late 1950's, prior to drywall.) This office is located in Historic Valley Junction, in West Des Moines, Iowa. This office particularly was built between 1910 & 1920, so the ceilings were a bit on the older side.
Fast forward a month later. Our property management team was still trying to contract out the the repair work, with no success. Our team was working in a small conference area in the back of the office where we had a drop-ceiling, rather than the lath & plaster ceiling. All of our technology, computers, monitors, printers & more were in a space smaller than the average walk-in closet, surrounded by more pieces of the white death (remember, this isn't dry wall, this is cement like plaster, sharp, old & heavy), scaffolding, ladders, & there was plaster dust everywhere. The rest of the ceiling was beginning to show it's wear, as it cracked above all of the solid wood light fixtures, which we learned were attached to the small pieces of wood above the plaster with a threaded rod & wing nut. (Not exactly the sturdiest assembly...)
We decided in early August that we'd waited long enough for repairs to be made. We reached out to our neighbor businesses for spaces that were open for immediate use, but came up empty. We packed up our work stations & set up shop in our kitchen at home & began our search for a new home for our business.
A few weeks later, we found a spot, much larger & a bit more "us." This space could be technically defined as a warehouse, as it has been used in the past as a storage unit, a metal work shop & a body shop. But, as the true visionaries that we are, we saw something with potential.
The new space was set up with a more than 1800 sq-ft of useable space, including a closed door office, a large conference area & kitchenette, & storage area with a half-wall opening up to the bay.
*A quick note, Brenda & I are also gear heads & auto enthusiasts. We work with Cars & Coffee Des Moines, a local non-profit that runs car shows twice a month in West Des Moines, raising money for area students to get in to automotive school, plus we operate No Coast Cars, a national car show search engine. So, an office that car store our 1968 Oldsmobile (a.k.a. #Smaug) is an added bonus.
After we picked up the keys for our new digs, we grabbed our truck & trailer & headed to Valley Junction to load up the rest of our gear. A few hours later, we quickly realized that we had way to much stuff in our tiny little office. While we were loading up for our last trip across town, we had a surprise visitor from our property manager. Just to be clear, it was a Saturday & this individual had spoken with us maybe 3 times over the course of the month regarding the repairs. They were simply stopping by to drop off some tools to start removing the rest of the ceiling that following Monday, when they happened upon us, greeting us with "oh good! I need you guys out by Monday afternoon to start repairing the ceiling!" I guess this is what you get when you property manager prefers a month-to-month relationship over a long term contract...
Anyways. We moved out & up! Our new office fits not only our needs functionally with Red Shoe with more room for consulting meetings, additional security & a state of the art heating & cooling system (important for our electronics) but it also offers space for Smaug, a fun conversation starter for all clients who enter!
Now, why would anyone be interested in any of this? Well, we aren't just a web design company. We too, are just people. Our business has set backs like any other business. But, it's our ability to take adversity & turn it in to opportunity that showcases our drive to succeed. Imagine what we could do for you.