Feb 29

New Digs for Sabo PR

New office 1I did something to prepare for work this morning that I have not had to do in more than 13 years: I put on a pair of shoes.

While footwear is definitely de rigueur for most office settings, I’ve been working from a home office since launching Sabo PR on 01/02/03. My commute has been enviable – either up a few stairs to the attic in the original Global HQ in Grand Rapids, across the hall when I shifted to Rockford after marrying my dear in 2010 or down a few stairs since we’ve been in “our” home in Cascade.

In any case, it’s been bunny slippers or funky socks or barefoot, depending on the season and my mood.

But that all changed this morning as we opened an official Grand Rapids office at 401 Hall St. SW, Suite 463B. We now have 1,623 square feet of space that includes a photo studio for T.J., our visual guru, and meeting space where the word nerds – me, Erin, Brian, Peg and Tom – can collaborate, connect with clients or just tunnel into a storytelling project.

The new space is flexible, designed with a boatload of inspiration from the talented Mary Dixon of Dixon Interior Design and fulfilled with the detail-oriented team of Jan Viglione and Nikki Van Prooyen of Kentwood Office Furniture. All the nuances – from the placement of electric outlets for the coffee maker to the begonia lipstick accent wall to the locks on photo storage cabinets – have been meticulously planned and executed by this team, for which I am deeply grateful.

It’s definitely a modern office floor plan. My father-in-law, the retired CEO of Chemical Bank, was baffled a few weeks ago when I painted a picture of our new space, explaining that I didn’t have a separate office, a door that locked or a private bathroom – and it was all just fine.

Perfect, in fact.

I’ve come a long way, both personally and professionally, since grabbing a cup of coffee, flipping on a green banker’s lamp and firing up a PC built by my ever-patient brother, Joe, that first Thursday morning in 2003. While I knew a fair bit about PR and journalism and client service, I knew nothing about running a business – not even that you had to number your invoices.

At that time, “home office” was still pretty much a taboo. It shrieked that you were a dabbler. I tried to skirt around it in conversations, until the oh-so-wonderful Dave Reid validated it as an option for me. He was at Hudsonville Ice Cream as its relatively new marketing director when we first met, and I ashamedly muttered “home office” when he asked where I worked.

“That’s great,” he exclaimed in response, “I hate paying for overhead!”

That day, I beat out another firm with a much larger staff and nicer offices for the account – but never forgot what Dave said.

It’s really about what you do, and how you do it, with whom and for whom – and less so about the where.

Still, my team is wildly excited about the new space – as am I. Our new space will allow us to expand the services we offer, adding drop-in headshot Fridays with T.J. Hamilton and “Writing Matters” workshops with consummate storyteller Tom Rademacher. It will serve as a new gathering space for our team and our clients, the next chapter in a story that is already much larger than I ever dreamed 13 years ago.

So this morning, I chose a fun pair of black Ann Kleins with a kitten heel and a sassy buckle for my first-day-in-the-new-office shoes.

And am already seeing so much potential of this new office – as is my shoe wardrobe.

6 thoughts on “New Digs for Sabo PR”

  1. Robin K. says:

    Congratulations to all!! Mary Ann, you’ve come a long way, baby. So happy for you!

    1. Brian Jon Greenleaf says:

      Thanks, Robin — without the confidence that you, Steve Waterbury and Warner Norcross had in me, am quite sure I’d still be in that first attic
      office. Always appreciate your being such a great cheerleader! — Mary Ann

  2. Barbara Fornasiero says:

    Mary Ann – how wonderful for you and your team! The new space looks incredible and inspiring. Enjoy.

    1. Brian Jon Greenleaf says:

      Thanks, Barb — appreciate the kind words. When you’re on the west side of the state next, hope you will stop by. — Mary Ann

  3. So happy for all of your success; congratulations to you and your team!

    1. Brian Jon Greenleaf says:

      Thanks, Marie — hope you’ll stop in for a visit next time you are in the neighborhood.– Mary Ann

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