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Ad agency makes old space feel brand new

Dan and Lisa Mathews have renovated their building at 122 N. Raymond into three suites. They have their full-service marketing advertising agency in one of the suites. (Dan Pelle)
Dan and Lisa Mathews have renovated their building at 122 N. Raymond into three suites. They have their full-service marketing advertising agency in one of the suites. (Dan Pelle)

On Nov. 5, local advertising agency Brand It moved into a newly remodeled space at 122 N. Raymond Road.

The agency, owned by Dan and Lisa Mathews, previously occupied a 1,000-square-foot office in the Valley but the growing firm needed more space. They are remodeling their former office at 12422 E. First Ave. and will lease it when work is complete.

Dan Mathews said they bought the building near the former U-City because they saw potential beneath its inefficient use of space and outdated appearance. Embracing the challenge, they morphed the building’s ’70s style into a modern motif that matches the mood of their company.

Outside, they replaced cedar shake siding with stucco, adding metal accents and a large logo. Inside, they knocked out ceilings, walls and stairs, exposed brick and brought in reclaimed fir beams.

“It was a massive waste of square footage,” Lisa Mathews said of the building’s original condition.

During the remodel, the couple acted as general contractors to save money, but said they relied on expertise and services from Old Hat Workshop and The Carpentry Ant as well as Great Floors and All Wall Contracting Inc.

“We saved about $40,000 by generaling the project ourselves,” Lisa Mathews said. She declined to say how much the remodel cost.

“It used to have 8-foot ceilings. Now it has lofted ceilings, about 17 foot” said Dan Mathews, gesturing to the airy office and noting that he handled the building’s exterior while his wife worked to create the office’s interior.

“My wife lives for HGTV. I stayed out of it,” he said.

It’s a divide-and-conquer approach they’ve long used for their business partnership, which has two divisions. Dan Mathews manages the creative design and advertising while Lisa Mathews handles promotional products.

“I’m not the boss of him and he’s not the boss of me,” said Lisa Mathews, glancing at her husband. “We are fortunate to…”

He finished her sentence, “work with each other.”

“It’s nice synergy,” said Dan Mathews, noting they have separate client lists that often overlap. “Some of her clients need our creative services and mine need her promotional products.”

The Brand It agency, which employs seven, focuses on corporate clients, with a niche in the medical industry.

The couple said the economy has affected their business, but they’re growing and anticipate hiring three people within the next year. “People are still spending money but not as much. It’s important to spend their dollars wisely,” Dan Mathews said. “Everything has to work together for the common cause.”

The couple credits Brand It’s growth to their staff’s cumulative 45 years of experience and an eagerness to adapt to changing markets and methods.

“We used to do 90 percent print,” Lisa Mathews said. “We still do direct mail but not in the numbers we used to … it’s probably 75 to 80 percent electronic media versus print now.”

“We have to evolve with the times and trends,” said Dan Mathews. “We embrace change.”

That love of change is reflected in their new office space as well as two 900-square-foot suites they’ll be leasing in the building. All three suites share a kitchen, conference room and bathrooms.

Their new Valley location was more affordable than a downtown site and works well because it has fast freeway access and free parking, Lisa Mathews said. And since she grew up in the Valley, she’s glad to help revitalize an area that thrived in her youth but has become dilapidated in recent years.

“I grew up at U-City. We ran that mall. It’s broken my heart to see everything move to Sullivan,” she said. “I like how this part of the Valley is coming together…We brought an urban vibe to Spokane Valley.”