On Saturday we’re meeting the landlord, taking the final meter readings and handing over a now massive bunch of keys before shutting that bright blue door behind us for the final time.
Annan’s been good to us and we’re sorry to say goodbye to the town we’ve called home since our fledgling days back in 2012.
Originally a marriage of convenience, we stumbled into the place. Kit lived nearby and had three young kids all attending the nearby primary school; Chris, our first hire, was happy to commute from Dumfries (as long as we picked up the tab for his Young Person’s Railcard); and James M was splitting his days between Creatomatic and an enviable freelance contract setting up digital marketing campaigns for a motorcycle tourism start-up in Moffat.
Handy though it was, Annan turned out to be a smart move. Fibre broadband is as fast as anything else locally, the A75, M74 and the West Coast Main Line at Carlisle are all within a short drive and office space is cheap as chips.
It feels like a good and fitting time to drop a nostalgia bomb documenting our time in Annan, so here’s a brief run through of where we began and subsequently outgrew over the years.
HQI – 2012 to 2013
Our first home was an old pet shop at the comically addressed No. 2 Butts Street.
Apart from the draft, the shaking windows whenever a bus drove by and us feeling like a zoo exhibit for the bored commuters waiting at the bus station over the road, it served it’s purpose whilst HQII was being renovated just along the street.
One main room with a tiny kitchen and back store room, it made for a bone-chilling place to put in a late shift over the winter. We didn’t have a fridge until we’d been there for three months.
2012: Opening headcount: 2.5
2013: Closing headcount: 3.5
HQII – 2013 – 2016
Our second home was a beauty; in early 2013, we became the proud first tenants in the refurbished annex at Bridge House.
A gorgeous Grade A listed building steeped in character which, at one time, housed the local Academy where Thomas Carlyle both studied and later taught. Bridge House was full of character with metre thick sandstone walls, a car park and wee garden at the back where folks could decamp the office and work in the sunshine during the sunny months.
The best real ale pub in town was also right across the street. Lots of happy times were had here.
Beautiful though Bridge House was, it was also small. When Team Creatomatic grew from three to five it became clear that we’d outgrown the place as we all squashed in like customers at a barber’s shop along one wall.
After briefly flirting with the prospect of putting in an offer on the derelict flat upstairs and expanding upwards we opted for the more oven-ready alternative a couple of hundred yards up the road at 80A High Street instead.
2013: Opening headcount: 3.5
2017: Closing headcount: 5
HQIII – 2017 to 2021*
In January 2017 – after a couple of months work bringing the place up to scratch, ripping up the Clydesdale Bank’s stubborn carpets and a lot of untangling of wires, we took over the former management suite at the old bank in the centre of town.
With a couple of offices, kitchen, meeting room and studio space, ’80A’ came with loads of room for our team to grow into.
And grow we did. At 80A Team Creatomatic has grown from five to eleven with new faces in development, support and design plus a whole new team created to handle digital marketing and content.
We were already pushing the limits of 80A and coupled with all that COVID-19 continues to bring in ensuring everybody has sufficient safe working space, it’s time to level up again.
*Really only up until March 2020, after which everybody’s been working from home during umpteen periods of lockdown
2017: Opening headcount: 5
2021: Closing headcount: 11