I never watched “The Jeffersons,” but right now I can certainly relate to the classic show’s theme song. Happy Dog Web Productions recently moved into a sweet new spot in downtown White Bear Lake. But, before I tell you more about the move, I really want to recap where it all started -- in my basement.
Five years ago I started Happy Dog and my basement turned into my first office. I had my yellow lab, our mascot Alphie, laying down next to me to the left, and our newborn son to the right of me in one of those little baby papasans. I dedicated most of my time to becoming better at what I do. I knew that if I wanted to be successful I needed to separate myself from the competition and show everybody that I'm much better than a lot of what's out there. So I would spend more than 80 hours a week working, reading books, taking webinars, watching videos going to conferences, reaching out to mentors, and some good ole’ studying. I couldn't afford any overhead while doing all of this, so my basement became my office lair. I would meet clients at coffee shops and work remotely on projects.
Eventually, it got to the point where I couldn’t get enough stretches of uninterrupted work time at home. That fact combined with the desire to grow my business, I knew the next step was getting into an office space. In 2010, I got my first office space right off of Highway 96 in White Bear Lake. It was a little 400-square-foot space that was just big enough for two people. Getting into a real office was a big leap of faith. I threw up a lot of prayers and just rolled the dice on this one. But, wouldn't you know, work kept coming in and I had to hire. My first hire Mike Berglund, and he’s still with me today.
We kept kicking some butt and moved to a larger suite, which is the spot that most of you know us being in.It was pretty large for our standards, about 1,400 square feet, but we filled up that space nicely. This spot served us well, and over the last couple years we’ve been able to add more staff including a developer, digital marketing specialist and various interns.
As the date to renew our lease got close, I started thinking about things that I'd never thought about before. What was a good work environment? Was our work environment conducive to creativity? What did our clients think of our workspace? What did our employees think of coming into work everyday? How about the location, was it near a lot of places for employees, such as banks, restaurants and places to walk? These thoughts drove me to start looking for Happy Dog’s next home. Our goal wasn't to increase square footage or anything like that, but it was more to answer all those questions.
As I found out, finding good real estate was tough. As many of you probably know, if you find a space with everything you want, you're going to be paying a steep, steep premium to be moving in there. But, I didn’t let that deter me. Through some research, and an eventual connection at the Rotary Club of White Bear Lake, I found an outstanding place for us.
So, in mid-March we set up shop in our new digs in downtown White Bear Lake at 4701 Clark Ave. (We’re right next to Domino's, which makes our developer Joe very, very happy -- and often hungry.) The space itself is perfect for Happy Dog. Just perfect. There are high ceilings, very modern furniture, floor level entry, our own sink and dishwasher, and a bunch of really cool features that make us love it and call it our home.
Do you want to come check it out? Anybody is welcome to drop by anytime, just let us know a little in advance.
We also have a ribbon cutting ceremony at noon Friday, May 1. We are proud of our spot and we will show you more pictures and video after the ribbon cutting.
Thank you to those of you who have supported me and Happy Dog over the years. We’re movin’ on up and lovin’ it!