Between now and the end of February, Kit and I will be meeting the landlord, taking the final meter readings and handing back the keys for our Annan offices.
After four hugely successful years at 80A High Street – and almost nine in Annan – it’s time to move on up again.
Why we’re moving
We left our old, old studio at Bridge House in 2017 and moved up the street into what was the manager’s suite of the town’s former Clydesdale Bank building as a team of five.
In the four years we’ve called it home our numbers have more than doubled, with eleven full timers now on the roster and needing somewhere to live.
(NB – We haven’t been able to get a group photo with Iona and Kelsey included yet. Blame COVID-19, obviously.)
Despite best creative efforts to comfortably and safely give everyone room to work happily and safely – our design team is now squeezed into what used to be the kitchen and our resident chief of coding is hunkered down in an old store cupboard – we’ve very much outgrown the place.
Where we’re going
Like proper grown ups, we’ve gone and bought somewhere this time.
Our new HQ will be 25 High Street, Lockerbie. After almost a year in the working – thanks, COVID – we’re the proud new owners of another old Clydesdale Bank building – this time in the centre of Lockerbie.
25 High Street Lockerbie – our new home from 2021.
The property itself is over 200 years old, built around 1800 with thick sandstone walls and sash and case windows – the works.
Our lot comprises a lovely big meeting room downstairs; the whole of the first floor above with half a dozen offices, plus kitchen, stores and car park; and a (potentially) pretty little walled garden area out the back.
With around 2500 square feet to go at we’ve got triple the space to play with – and some pretty grand plans with what to do with it.
There are a few things needing attention before we can start putting our stamp on the place – not least being that the roof currently leaks like a hole’y bucket – but all being well we’re aiming to be in at some point during the Spring, COVID and lockdown restrictions allowing.
I suspect we’ll get asked this almost as often as we’ve fielded the ‘Why Annan?’ question over the last nine plus years.
The answer remains the same. It’s handy; easy to get in and out of; the broadband’s as good as anywhere else around here and it’s way, way less expensive than buying or renting somewhere even half the size in the centre of Dumfries or Carlisle – despite being able to get into either town centre from here within about 20 minutes.
Having Lockerbie station almost literally on our front doorstep makes visiting clients in Edinburgh and Glasgow a breeze. We’re now less than an hour away from Princes Street and George Square and our friends in Manchester, London and further South are all now immediately easier to get to as well.
Aren’t you all working remotely these days?
A lot of this hasn’t really mattered throughout the last year, as our team have largely been working from home since the first lockdown. However, we’re hopeful and confident that this isn’t going to last forever.
And, whilst every single member of the team has wholly proven that remote working is both possible and positively useful at times, it’s also very much apparent that being able to get everyone in a room together to hash out solutions just can’t be beat.
The new normal may well see a more fluid and flexible working environment for Creatomatic. Despite COVID, lockdown, constantly moving goalposts around childcare and partners’ working patterns as the world around us changed and reacted, 2020 was our busiest year to date. We’ve proven beyond doubt that shit can get done, regardless of location or time so we’ve no intention of enforcing a kind of office-based regime again any time soon.
Folks will be able to come and go at our new HQ as they please and as it suits them.
So long, Annan, and thanks for all the fish (suppers)
Finally, it would only be fair to list some of our favourite things about Annan, the town that nurtured Creatomatic from our ‘umble roots to the global powerhouse it is today. Special mentions have to go to:
- The bakers – Francis’s award-winning pies and breads kept us fuelled for years (although they haven’t done anyone’s waistlines any good). Isherwood’s Deli has to get a special mention here too.
- The pubs. Especially the Blue Bell, for their marvellous range of local beers, and our nearest neighbours across the road in The Shed, for their bewildering rainbow lighting scheme which kept our meeting room feeling mildly psychedelic throughout the darker evenings.
- The riverside walks – the Annandale Way has always been great to let our designers and developers get a bit of fresh air/walk their dogs/go for a mind-clearing cycle.
- The occasional punter who would walk in off the street, ask if we do computer repairs, look bewildered when we explain that we’re a web design company, and then leave, clutching their laptop under their arms – possibly to ask the same question in the newsagents.
- And finally the Café Royal, for providing us with Fish Supper Fridays for years.
So long old friend, you’ve served us well