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  • Writer's pictureEric McGinnis

2 Years Later, A Look Back at #1

A little more than 2 years ago, we pushed off into the unknown with only the idea of a name and a brand. It was nice to initially focus on the branding efforts where we could spend all of our nervous energy on building the foundation for the work we would do in the future. Although that work doesn’t come with the real-world consequences that the architecture profession can present, we would argue that it’s some of the most important work a young company can do. It may not be “forever”, but it’s pretty close.

Before we could get comfortable with the finalized branding package, the templates for production, implementation of our basic workflow, etc., we were approached about an opportunity to help another small local business.. In the midst of COVID, Donelson area’s Homegrown Taproom and Kitchen was attempting to take advantage of a difficult downtime by expanding their existing space. They needed help getting documents through permitting quickly so they could be back up and running by the time the COVID restrictions were removed. That effort would be the first official project for Comma Designworks.

Certainly, it was a little unnerving to jump into something with such a small staff for the first time without the full support of a larger firm. But once we got started on the work, we quickily found ourselves in a very familiar and comfortable place. It didn’t hurt that this particular project focused on the Codes and Fire Marshal coordination rather than the design front. This allowed us to narrow our focus to the specific code issues at hand and not get lost in changing the World on our first-ever project. This effort set the tone for the next year when we would take on larger and more complex projects because we had, at least internally, proven that we had the same tools at our hands, the process with Metro Nashville wasn’t any different, and we could rely on our experience and know-how to get the job done.

We do travel back to Homegrown regularly, in part because their local beer list is the best around, but also because it’s fun to remember the nervous energy of that first project, and more importantly, the unbridled optimism for what was ahead.

Since this project, we’ve worked on many different types of projects with many different clients, but none of those will ever be the first. NO ONE CAN TAKE THAT AWAY FROM YOU, HOMEGROWN!

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