On a warm summer morning in August 2018, while driving north on Kerr Avenue between Wilshire Blvd and Randall Parkway, I noticed a “For Sale” sign in front of a former medical practice.
The sign caught me off guard because the building had housed a doctor’s office for as long as I could remember. To see a cool *mi
d-century modern building with great street exposure and plenty of parking on the market gave me a crazy idea.
Note: I have Kerr Ave historical perspective because that’s the road my family took to go to the first McDonald’s in town on Market Street in the late 60’s; also, we sometimes went to Shields for ice cream at North 17 Shopping Center. Back to the story.
*Also, because I am not as cool as the building, I did not learn to use the term ‘mid-century modern’ until several months later.
Serendipity is cool
To my good fortune, the listing real estate agent happened to be my friend Jeff Hovis (https://jhovis.intracoastalrealty.com/) so I gave him a call. At the time of my call, the property had been on the market for about 60 minutes. Talk about serendipity! We arranged for a building tour the following week.
To be clear, upon seeing the interior, it was a little difficult envisioning how the building could be modified; there were a plethora of examination rooms that looked like this. That said, when I mentioned the idea of purchasing the building to my business coach, his eyes got big and he broadcasted a huge smile, which told me I might be on to something.
Fast forward to December 2018
Honestly, it’s unclear what happened over the next few months except that I met with good friend, architect Philip Humphrey pgharchitecture.com at the location to conduct a feasibility study, Jeff made an offer on my behalf and then it was December 18th and I was buying the building.
Once purchased, Philip guided us through space assessment needs, measuring existing equipment and creating a layout that allowed for production flow, while maximizing the space we needed.
This was Philip’s 3rd time helping us with a move/expansion, so he already had a good idea of the spatial and electrical needs for all of the equipment.
Many things had to be taken into account: where your blueprints (we call them plans) would be run, how much space would be needed for bindery, positioning of the presses for your business printing orders, creating a space for our graphic designers to concentrate, and making sure your waiting area was comfortable were all key ingredients.
Speaking of electrical requirements, little did we know prior to removing the interior wall siding how many brick walls we would encounter! Lots of thought and money went into deciding where to place the required outlets.
The following are a few photos of work along the way:
Philip worked with our team to create the scope of the project, necessary to receive bids from general contractors. Based on much criteria, Environments Unlimited (https://www.environmentsunlimitedinc.com/) was chosen as our GC, with Darren Jones serving as project manager. The adventure had begun in earnest.
There were plenty of meetings with Philip and Darren, lots of workarounds and surprises along the way, like all those brick walls we kept discovering. All of the renovation occurred between April 2019 and January 2020.
Once the Certificate of Occupancy was finally awarded, we moved in, opening in the new location Monday, March 2, 2020.
Plans were made for a grand opening in late March/early April. On March 12, our fancy new printer (the grand format Colorado, capable of printing things like banners, wallpaper, window decals and floor graphics faster than anything else on the market) was installed and then . . . COVID stay-at-home orders for the state of NC went into effect on March 13.
What a disappointment to not show off the building and our new workspace! Fortunately, as an essential business, we’ve stayed open throughput the epidemic and provided everyone with curbside or delivery service.
Our big splurge that no one can see
April 15, 2021 will mark the one-year anniversary that our 36 solar panels were activated. In an effort to reduce our carbon footprint as much as possible, the decision was made to have the panels installed. They have reduced the amount of power we purchase by approximately 50% monthly and should pay for themselves in about five years.
Isn’t parking exponentially better?
Most of you have not had the opportunity to see the completed renovation and for that, we’re really sorry. That said, hopefully everyone agrees that parking is exponentially better at the new location . . . let’s not even consider what curbside would have looked like at our old location.
As we all get vaccinated, we hope to be able to allow all of you to come into the building. Thanks so much for your patience and stay tuned, we might be able to host a grand reopening before too long!