Sunday, February 10, 2008

Our new office space

In the beginning of February we suddenly made a big move to a new office space. During our annual January strategic meeting, Amy and I discussed leasing a new space and decided on a move-in goal date of June. We wanted to be proactive about it and discover what's on the market these days so that we'd be prepared come early summer, so we began looking around early... and ended up winning the office lottery with West Ashley Executive Suites! The very day we called was the day the building had opened for leasing, and though we had to sign much sooner than we expected, it was well worth it.

While driving by, we had been impressed with the exterior of the building (a green Lowcountry style one-story), but hadn't been able to see in the windows due to closed plantation blinds. Once inside with the owner of the building, Dalton Mackey, as our guide, we were seriously impressed. He had spared no expense on this building, half of which also serves as his own insurance company's headquarters: high-end commercial carpet, beautiful sinks in the bathrooms, baseboard moulding throughout, every item chosen by a professional interior designer, individually controlled thermostats in each office, the best air conditioning system money can buy, and &c. Everything is included in the monthly price, too: a very advanced phone system, fax system, internet connection, janitorial services, a genuinely delightful administrative staff to answer the phone and deliver mail, shared kitchen and conference room facilities, and more.

West Ashley Executive Suites offers leases as short as three months, but we knew when we sat down with the also genuinely delightful Dalton (of whom Amy and I are already very fond) that we wanted to sign the longest lease possible. By happening along when we did, we had our pick of the eight offices available, and snagged the corner office, which had originally been intended as a conference room. Not only was it the largest, with windows on two walls, but it came with additional conference room lighting and a slightly different carpet.

Dalton and his staff, including his son, Jason, have bent over backward to welcome us into the space. Although all the offices come furnished with executive-level furniture, because we operate a design studio, we asked Dalton if it would be possible to furnish our own office. He immediately had the furniture moved into other offices (where others will benefit!) by professional movers free of charge. When my Outlook program discovered it did not agree with their firewall's virus-scanning program, Dalton and Jason immediately called in a very competent computer technician, also at no charge. When the cleaning crew accidentally locked me out of the office over the weekend, Jason quickly came to the office to let me in, and come Monday will provide me with additional keys to prevent such accidents in the future.

I'm including two quick snapshots I took of the office while working this weekend. We have Yolanda at Haverty's to thank for the exquisite yellow loveseats, which every visitor to the space have loved, and Leigh at Dwelling (see my blog several posts before this one) of upper King Street's design district to thank for the desk, actually a mahogany dining table full of character, as it cushioned the fall of a chandelier one night in the shop. The table itself was already distressed as part of the design, and we love the story! In one of the photos you can also see a bit of the filing cabinet and wall cabinet (we use it for our business stationary) crafted by Patrick Jonas, my talented husband and custom furniture designer.

We also looked at two other facilities and called about several others, just to be sure. We found West Ashley Executives Suites to be perfect for us and the best value for what we need and want. As we're hiring currently, we plan to take another of the offices soon... but for any other small business owner, especially those in upscale industries, Amy and I both highly recommend these offices. There are virtual spaces available (two of those are filled) and because it's so new on the market, if you act fast, you'll still have your pick of the remaining seven offices. They're located at 3527 Mary Ader Avenue, just off Glenn McConnell Parkway between St. Francis Hospital and all the new neighborhoods on Bees Ferry Road. Feel free to ask any questions in the comments area of this blog and I'll try to address them within one business day.