Location is a funny thing. “Where you at?” “How do I get there?” “You like the neighborhood?” “You guys rent movies?”
We started our business in Harrisonburg in 2003, and moved to downtown on East Market Street in 2007. We work with clients to tell their story with video production and motion graphics, in advertising, marketing, corporate communications, and original content development (my mom still introduces me as “He worked at a TV station” if that helps make things a little less nebulous).
When we started out, we thought about moving to a bigger city. “Big City” can mean “larger client base,” more “stuff to do”, “more choices”. Before we moved downtown, we talked about relocation to different cities for a variety of possibilities: larger “local” client pool to draw from? Change of pace? More? Better? Different?
Ultimately we decided to stay in Harrisonburg and work towards having “the right kind” of presence in other markets. There are interstates that lead to airports, and if the commute from Elkton on 33 is the most traveling we’ll do during the day, it beats fighting traffic and construction on the beltway. With phones and internet access, you really can work any place in any market, right? That’s what we were thinking anyway.
In 2007, things in downtown Harrisonburg were changing. There was a sense of momentum, a sense that efforts were being made to move the area forward, and not just physically. There was a sense of cohesion, at least an attempt at crafting an arc, adding more to the Harrisonburg “story.”
So we moved downtown. There were restaurants within walking distance from the office. There were organizations and groups putting out sweat equity just to try and make something happen. And some “local” businesses like JMU and Rosetta Stone. Neighbors who became clients, clients and competitors who became friends and associate companies. And we found that, locally anyway, we were becoming “Oh, you’re that downtown company” (and just as much “You guys are downtown? In Harrisonburg? That’s awesome!”)
In October 2009, when we knew we had outgrown our old downtown location, we looked around and on the outskirts of Harrisonburg out of nothing more than doing due diligence. The location we looked at first was twice the space of our current location, invited us to design the office from the ground up, had room for a permanent studio, and was next to a bakery.
Doing business nationally and internationally, our location hasn’t mattered at all. Except where it has. Because it’s our home base, the immediate and local community we’re a part of. E-mail and IMs can’t always trump being able to walk down the street and get a loaf of salt rising bread.
To give some context, just this past year, we’ve traveled to Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Rhode Island, Missouri, and Kansas, as well as trips throughout Virginia and Washington, D.C. We’ve made a commercial for Ford, produced branding for an Italian satellite TV network, and almost gotten footage of our movie on “Oprah,” (“Oprah” seems like one of the “almosts” you don’t mind sharing). We’ve been lucky enough to work with the Harrisonburg Children’s Museum, the United Way, and countless friends and neighbors.
Today is three hundred sixty-five-point-two-four revolutions of the Earth around the sun since we moved to our new space on West Water Street. We’ve enjoyed our move to and around downtown Harrisonburg, and I look forward to being downtown this next year even more than this past year.
It’s a pretty good location.
Joey Groah is partner and a director/writer/producer at DIGICO Shoot | Post | Design, in Harrisonburg, VA. Joey serves on the HDR Promotions Committee, the James Madison University School of Media Arts and Design Alumni Advisory Council, and is currently vice president of the Shenandoah Valley Technology Council.