Advertising company fills new space with one-of-a-kind, expressive touches.

Fechtor Advertising is small, which allows for staff friendships to run deep. The firm's office above Café Brioso comfortably holds its five employees's desks, a conference room and small private room, kitchen bar, groovy “conversation pit” with couches, shag carpet, a record player and Walter—the talkative office bird—but not much else.

A first glance from the elevator will reveal a wall of hanging hats. Stephen Fechtor explains, “We had this thing in our old office and we decided to transfer it to our new office, and that is a hat wall—because we are a small, tight-knit group and we all wear many hats.

“It's missing a hat because it's cold outside and I left my (other) hat somewhere,” he adds.

The group prides itself on being collaborative—so much so, that they don't make their titles known outside the company, opting instead for playful sayings like “will not be labeled,” or “title schmitle” next to their names. Their desks are simple tables situated next to each other in the middle of the space.

“We were trying to keep a wide open space,” says Amy Thompson. “That's what we had in our other building. We just kind of outgrew it. This summer we had an intern with us and (we thought), ‘This place is crowded.'”

The group checked out several possibilities as it searched for a new spot to call home, including the Smith Bros. Hardware Co. building and a space in the Arena District. In the end they settled on the Gay Street office because it was Downtown.

“We really liked the other places, but we've been Downtown; we really love the energy of Downtown,” says Fechtor. “We loved the office space itself in the Smith Bros. building, there's a lot of parking, but it's not in the Short North and it's not in Downtown. It's kind of its own little island, (but) we love just walking out and there's life; (and) the Arena District seemed to us to be really cool—about 10 years ago.”

They are glad to be Downtown and to be on the corner of Gay and High streets, noting all the construction going on around the site, including the upcoming opening of Delaware, Ohio, fine-dining restaurant, Veritas, across the street.

“You could argue that this is the most happenin' block in the city—in fact, maybe you wouldn't even have to argue,” Fechtor says.

The advertising company, while on the fourth floor, also checked out the second floor. The decision clincher was under their feet. On the second floor it is carpet over plywood. On the fourth floor it is warm, blonde original wood planks from 1910 when the building was constructed. When the group saw the two floors they noticed the difference, and “that was that,” Fechtor says.

The eclectic and meaningful artwork hanging on the walls, and shelves filled with odd and interesting toys, are further proof of staff's tight friendships and playful dynamic. Often, they will listen to records together during work hours. They say they sometimes stop by Spoonful Records on Long Street to pick up new office tunes. Amy Ireland says using a record player is good for “workplace wellness” in more ways than one.

“You know how a record player works—it plays four or five songs then it stops and you have to get up and change it. But what happens most often is we play it, then it stops and we forget.”