Milestones

Fall is a time of transition and beginnings for me, far more so than Spring. I have been thinking a lot about milestones recently, especially after the time warp that we’ve been in since early 2020. It’s October, and I have no idea where the summer went.

It’s easy to let anniversaries and milestones slip by uncelebrated when there are so many more critical things happening all around us. “We can’t have our grand opening right now, so maybe later in the year” became “Maybe next year”, and then “Maybe before our lease runs out”. Last year’s 8th birthday almost went by without being noticed. In fact, the only Instagram post I can find around that day is one of my dog.

But marking milestones is important, especially these days. It shows that we have persevered, persisted, and/or stubbornly clung on as everything around us turned upside down. So, here we are in the first week of October, and there are indeed a few things to celebrate. Yesterday was World Architecture Day, and this month is Archtober in New York City.

Six years ago, Allieway Marketing Inc. and I got the keys to our very first office, aka “The Tiny Office”. Wedged between a flower shop and a wine bar in downtown Buffalo, it was perfect for two tiny businesses to make the (literal) leap from home office to Main Street. It served us well for 5 years.

At the end of 2019, we decided to look for a bigger space. We had another partner in Get Fresh Industries, enough incoming work, more staffing needs, and the confidence to make a move. On March 16th, 2020, New York State shut down and two weeks later, we moved. Impeccable timing.

We now have a fourth company sharing our collaborative workspace which houses a total of 6 people. You could fit 3 “tiny offices” in here. It’s all good.

Today is also DSA’s 9th birthday. That’s a big milestone for any small business, given how many fail within the first year (20%), or five years (50%), or within the first decade (70%!). Architecture firms are intrinsically tied to the ups and downs of the economy, so it was no surprise to see the statistics from the AIA and other sources about the reduction in billings and even firm closures in 2020. Our industry may be cyclical by nature but holy wow, this past cycle of 18 months has been a doozy. It has been to our advantage to be small: we have learned, out of necessity, how to be flexible, adaptable, and pivotable, if that’s a word.

In the words of the late, beloved Stuart McLean, “we may not be big, but we’re small.” Here’s to the first 9 years, and to many more.

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