More than three years ago, we moved into our first long-term home for Nine13sports, operating out of the basement at Shortridge High School. When we moved in, I had a staff of 2, we had a single truck and trailer we were using to transport equipment to schools, and we still carried the TV into a program site by hand.
Man, times have changed.
We would not be here without the safe harbor that Shortridge has provided us for our operations hub. I am forever indebted to Shane, Lori, Matt, Dr. Ferebee, and the rest of the school community that invited us in way back when and gave me an opportunity to focus on growing our programs without the additional burden of high rent. There were a lot of months not all that long ago where I was barely scraping together enough cash to pay my employees, cover our corporate insurance, and putting fuel in the truck without taking a paycheck myself. Rent would have been the death of our organization before we ever had a chance to truly begin. Thanks simply isn’t enough for the opportunity they offered us to find our footing as a young organization.
And now, it is time to continue our evolution of growth.
This past week, we entered into a long-term agreement to move into a 10,500 square foot building on 29th Street, just west of Martin Luther King Jr. St.. It is an area that, much like Indianapolis as a whole, has history and has experienced its share of ups and downs over the last 100 years. Our building and the property it resides on has housed everything from a bicycle and motorcycle manufacturer in the first decade of the 1900’s to a company that fabricated gooseneck lights in the 1920’s. It is a building that has a story to tell.
Just like us.
The new Nine13sports Headquarters will streamline our operations and daily logistics. It consists of almost 2,000 square feet of mixed-use office space including private offices, a conference room, a large community work space for staff and interns, and a full repair shop for our equipment will be newly built within the existing building. The remaining 8,000+ square feet will house our fleet of Sprinters, the new Kids Building Bikes trailer, the truck fleet, and provide programming opportunities both immediately and allow us a canvas to create new programs for the community in 2019 and beyond.
The space isn’t just perfect for right now, it is perfect for our future.
It is the space that I fully envision us calling home for many years. It gives us an opportunity to find ways to be an anchor within the King Commons area, a pathway to work alongside the neighborhood and community organizations that are engaged with LISC (Local Initiatives Support Corporation) Great Places 2020 initiative that the area has been designated. It allows for us to support, and advocate, to better serve the community that I want to impact and positively engage with the most.
For my incredible team, this will allow them to work more efficiently. From being able to have our vehicles parked inside allowing us to have more security over our most valuable assets, not having to fight mother nature in winter before an early morning school site, keeping the diesel from gelling during sub zero temperature snaps, and keeping the fleet washed more regularly to make sure we always look best for our sponsors, funders, and donors. It will allow for easier access to the bicycles we use for fleet servicing, quicker repair times, and not having to wrestle bikes and system carts up and down stairs and elevators every time we need to address a broken or worn part.
When I launched Nine13 in 2012, I was operating out of my home office until finding a community at the Speak Easy in 2013. From there, I found some early success with our mission and vision and as our needs grew, we moved our operations hub into Shortridge in June of 2015. I have found myself reflecting on what a profound impact each of these locations and homes has had on not just Nine13sports, but me as an individual. I am beyond humbled to have this opportunity to see how this new building will shape us in the years to come.
A special thanks to Joshua Graham, our broker at Cushman & Wakefield; Clint Fultz, the owner and broker of the property we are moving to; my Board of Directors for empowering and trusting me during this process; and, my staff who have endured many hours of discussion about what we want our new home to represent.
I look forward to inviting our supporters to an open house in late fall/early winter once we are fully moved in and breaking bread with everyone to celebrate the significance of this organization shaping opportunity.
This is home.