When Matt Hoelter was looking for new office space for his business Pixel Park, he happened upon the old Jeni’s headquarters near Grandview. One step into the downstairs, and he loved it. Then, he saw the upstairs and loved it even more.
“I felt right away, this is it,” he says. The natural light, layout of the rooms, and location sold him on it.
Pixel Park, a creative firm focused on video and animation, started in January of 2013 when Hoelter’s freelancing business was growing beyond his capabilities.
“I always had an interest in starting a company, and I’ve always dreamed big,” he says. “My family has a lot of small business owners in it and I’ve always thought, why can’t I do that? I love working with others and growing a team has been so much fun.”
As owner and creative director, Hoelter started “looping in talented people” and his business got their first space in downtown Old Worthington above Jet’s Pizza.
“We had a lot of great memories there but we were bursting at the seams for more space,” he says, noting it was about the size of the current space’s kitchen.
Their new home is 2600 square-feet and they moved in January of 2015. Pixel Park has grown to six employees, with plans to continue a steady and organic growth. Currently, the growth of Pixel Park has been completely self-funded. Hoelter has used a mix of job postings, referrals, LinkedIn searches, and hiring of his favorite freelancers to grow his team. The company also took part in the latest career fair held at the Columbus College of Art and Design.
The first task Hoelter hired out was for graphic design help for an animation he was working on.
“I was following a friend on Instagram that was posting fun designs that matched the aesthetic I was looking for, so I reached out to her to see if she wanted to help,” he says. “That was Hilary [Buchanan], and she’s now our full time Art Director.”
Buchanan was an active part in the design of the new space, spending time on Pinterest to discover cool ideas they could incorporate and be inspired by.
“We wanted it to feel like a house in a way,” she says. “Relaxed. Homey.”
“The vision was for the space to feel nice enough for clients to come in and feel we are serious, but also have fun for our employees,” says Hoelter.
“And show off our personality a bit more,” adds Buchanan.
Although being a small business owner has been a lot harder than he thought, Hoelter has really enjoyed the opportunities life as an entrepreneur brings.
“I have the opportunity to affect people’s lives in such a positive way, both in and out of the office,” he says. “I want to constantly serve my employees and figure out how to give them the space they need to run free with their creativity. It’s really fun to be building a place that everyone is so excited about and it really shows with the quality of our work.”
The unique conference table is one of their favorite pieces made for the new office.
“It makes it really fun to be here in the conference room,” says Hoelter. “We LOVE our conference room table. That’s my favorite piece of furniture in the office. We commissioned Hilary’s friends Alex and Heather Hanselmann to make it for us. It’s more of a side business for them, but when they offered we jumped all over it. It turned out amazing!”
For the lounge area, he had visions of a huge white leather couch and found this pretty perfect match at Havertys one day. It’s a great space for the team to come together for lunch, or have a space for a creative break.
Touches of art can be found throughout the space, and they have plans to add more.
“Ryan Gargac’s younger sister Amanda Gargac painted the Mario mural on our wall and she completely rocked it,” says Hoelter. It ties into the exposed pipes in the space and looks really cool. Ryan Gargac is an animator at Pixel Park.
“She’s super talented,” says Hoelter. “His other younger sister April painted the sign in the entryway.”
Hoelter stopped in retro toy store Big Fun in the Short North and found a pile of old Atari games, which he arranged in pixelated fashion on a hallway wall. He also found some retro posters there that fit the space really well. Other art was painted directly onto the wall using a projector. Patio lights strung overhead add a fun ambiance, look really great in the evening, and keep the space cheery on overcast days.
Gargac also had an idea of creating marquee letters for the company’s name, which fellow animator Melanie Mescher executed.
It all adds up to an imaginative, inspiring, and inviting space.
“We love the city of Columbus,” says Hoelter. “It’s been a great place to grow a business and we have big plans for the future. This is only the beginning for Pixel Park!”
For more information about Pixel Park, visit thepixelpark.com.
Photos by Lillian Dent.
Do you know of, have, or work in, a creative workspace and would like to be featured in this series? If so, please contact Anne Evans.