It seems like just yesterday, yet an eternity ago, that we (Brian Amick and Jay Richardson) started Werkbot in 2005. We wanted to elevate the standard of digital marketing, help our city embrace new technology, and represent Erie across the nation through top-notch creative work. I believe we’ve succeeded in these endeavors and plan to continue our role in the local entrepreneurial community.
We often think back to our first clients. They were small gigs and partnerships with local ad agencies that ultimately made a massive impact on Werkbot’s trajectory. Perhaps, most importantly, they believed in us.
Naturally, as our client list grew, so did our number of personal and professional connections. In 2009, when Erie was in the midst of recovering from the Great Recession and spending money on a new location seemed precarious, we couldn’t help but feel like we needed to be in the heart of the city.
That’s when we moved the business to its present location. We packed up our humble office in Frontier, a place we had called home for our first five years, and transplanted ourselves in the historic Renaissance Centre in the heart of downtown Erie, PA.
From Three to Twelve
When we first moved to the Renaissance, there were only three of us holding down the fort. As a still-fledgling company, we shared the office space with two other small businesses to save on costs.
There were some naysayers along the way. Many were concerned about our decision to move downtown. Storefront facades in the downtown area sagged like sorrowful smiles, sidewalks and curbs were cracked and crumbling like winter knuckles, and operating businesses were as scarce as porch lights on country roads.
Why move to the urban core of a city that is struggling? Because, like those first couple clients of ours who believed in us, we believed in Erie, and still do. Plus, there were also a handful of other reasons to feel optimistic.
Erie also happens to be a great place to make business mistakes. A financial snafu in Erie is far less damning than if the same mistake was made in New York City or Silicon Valley, and so we went for it. We saw economic development patterns in Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Cleveland and other regional cities that were reinventing their urban core, and we knew Erie would head that way, too.
Most importantly, we wanted to support a city that was in dire need of a little patronage. Downtown Erie has treated us well. Since the transition, we’ve grown from three to 12 people, and are now looking to fill several new positions in the coming months.
Where Do We Go From Here?
The digital marketing landscape has transformed over the last ten years. From arbitrary television ad buys to data-driven campaigns, times have changed. Businesses that toil with antiquated methods of advertising are spending more and receiving less. Organizations that are able to pivot, adapt, and evolve are the ones that continue to thrive.
Like the digital marketing landscape, the entrepreneurial ecosystem has also evolved. More specifically, there seems to be a deeper understanding of our connectedness to one another—that we’re all on the same team, and we’re stronger together and greater than the sum of our parts.
While Werkbot has never strayed from our core values, we certainly have evolved. We’ve grown with the community, forged life-long connections, and continued our unending pursuit to perfect our craft.
We value diverging thought, and we consider teamwork an essential ingredient in the longevity of our business. We have a deep sense of respect for each other and our clients. It's how we keep projects on track while bringing our best ideas to the forefront of the conversation.
Trust comes with the shared understanding that we are driven by something other than our own personal and professional gain. We focus on long-term relationships, both internally and externally, and take time to learn about your business and you as a person.
We provide an environment where people want to come to work and have an outlet for creativity. This work environment is fuel for the highest-quality, creative work. It’s allowed our business to thrive and provides the perfect solutions for our clients.
We’re looking forward to the next ten years and seeing where this wild ride of small business ownership takes us. We’re excited to continue helping our clients transition from their old marketing strategies to the newest promotional approaches. Companies big and small desire to form better connections with their customers, affiliates, and fellow business owners, and we’re here to help them do just that.
Through digital marketing and custom development, we hope to empower people and businesses, help them grow, and help Erie become a global force to be reckoned with. We’re confident that, through new technologies, genuine connections, and hard work, this dream is within our city’s reach.
Get to Know the Bots
We’re here for you. We partner with businesses, nonprofits, and public agencies to help them grow. As your needs change, we’ll help you adapt, evolve, and pivot to help you navigate the ever-changing landscape of digital marketing.
If you’re unsure of the next step is for your organization, reach out to us. We’ll help you carve out a clear path to success.