At Work: Fine Citizens’ new home is the perfect fit

Why go through a rebrand when your company is nearing ten years old?

fc_logoFine Citizens President and CEO Phil Wilson started his first interactive agency in 2003 after working in the field of architectural engineering.

“I wanted more of a creative expression,” he says.

His intentionally small, boutique agency provided him with just that. As time went on, more companies came online with similar names and brand confusion was becoming a problem.

“We shed the old and were born anew [as Fine Citizens],” says Wilson.

With the new name and brand, the decision was made to look for new office space. They were located in a brick/industrial space in the Brewery District, that at 5600 square feet, no longer fit their company in feel or size. “It was way bigger than what we needed,” says Wilson.

“We essentially are a new company,” he says. “New location, new people, new business model, new (much larger) clientele, new name, new image, new energy. The only thing really the same is me (and the fact that we still focus on Interactive).”

After looking at about twelve spaces, they knew they found the right one when they walked in. They looked at the creative suites at Dennison and Third and just fell in love with the natural light, cement floors, the beams and moulding, and the favorite, a spiral staircase.

“The space is kind of a jewel,” he says.

Looking onto the main workspace with the spiral staircase anchoring the back.
Looking onto the main workspace with the spiral staircase anchoring the back.
This IKEA coffee table was customized with a piece of glass etched with Fine by Eric Wolford & Lisa Fox of ProGraphix of Columbus.
This IKEA coffee table was customized with a piece of glass etched with Fine by Eric Wolford & Lisa Fox of ProGraphix of Columbus.
The antique phone booth was a great find on Craigslist. It’s been restored and works great for when employees would like to take private calls.
The large vinyl Fine over the reception area was done by Curv Imaging.
Up the staircase is creative director Aaron Reiser’s suite. The smaller Fine was done by Eric Wolford & Lisa Fox of ProGraphix of Columbus.
Illustrations by Jeremy Slagle.
The conference table was fashioned out of two IKEA countertops.
The orange accents found throughout the space add a pop of strong color.
Cabinets from IKEA stylishly hold essentials.

At 2800 square feet, the company has room to add a few more employees. Currently they are at about seven full-time, with positions open to add more.

Finding the right person to hire is one of the challenges of running your own company.

“We are very selective,” says Wilson. “In some cases we search for months to find the right fit. You’ve got to have talented people.”

When he was building the business, Wilson admits that he “wishes he had knows how valuable help is.”

“You don’t know what you don’t know,” he says. “I wish I had had my creative counterpoint, Aaron Reiser, from the beginning.”

Wilson is in the process of getting more guidance for his company as he goes through Columbus Business First’s Advisory Board Exchange to set up a board for Fine Citizens.

He also turns to a few trusted friends and collegues for advice: business partner Rodney Washington; David Bourke, of FocusCFO; Ambrose Moses III, of Moses Law; John Parms, of Parms & Company; and Sandra Moody, of Dehan Enterprises.

“We wouldn’t be here today if it weren’t for the support of all these great, local people and organizations,” says Wilson. “I also really admire Curt Moody of Moody Nolan, Inc. and what he’s built.”

Wilson enjoys living and working in Central Ohio and couldn’t imagine having his life anywhere else.

“I love it here,” he says. “The diversity, energy, rich depth of corporate headquarters… Columbus is the biggest small city I’ve ever been to. I’m having a lot of fun.”

A frosted door logo greets you. By Eric Wolford & Lisa Fox of ProGraphix of Columbus.

Additional resources and information:
Office Signage (Big Fine): Curv Imaging
Office Signage (Door, Coffee Table, Small Fine): Eric Wolford & Lisa Fox of ProGraphix of Columbus
Business Cards: Igloo Letterpress
Design for a Good Cause: Jeremy Slagle of Slagle Design

[For more about Fine Citizen’s Philanthropic efforts, click here.]

To learn more about Fine Citizens, visit

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.