The ArchWay Building: Welcoming Business Activity to Glass Street

Local neighbors and residents have probably noticed that the former Glass House building has a new owner and identity. In fact, the ArchWay building received it’s new name from the community’s own innovative kids. At a special grand opening ceremony, the building’s new owner, Michele Peterson revealed the winning name and logo, awarding Markees Stubbs and Savannah Rice a $250 Target gift card split prize for the name and Dakota Rice another $250 Target card for designing the logo.

The foundational concept for ArchWay, as outlined in Yolanda Putnam’s Times Free Press article following the May grand opening is to equip local youth with exposure and training in the area of marketing and business branding. Linking with Studio Everything and Glass House Collective provides Peterson with a sound foundation of community relationship already in place.

As Teal Thibaud says, “Glass House Collective is eager to team up with business efforts to get kids involved and build excitement.” Business leader and board member Carlos Hampton agrees. “Opening kids’ eyes to the value of branding and business can cultivate youthful entrepreneurship in the area, building an identity for more obscure local brands.”

For the contest Peterson, as the building’s new owner, took on the role of the client, with consultant Strat Parrott leading the young participants through a specific, truly organic process. The group brainstormed names and voted on one another’s proposals using stickers, so they experienced the value of not just picking their own idea, but evaluating the merit of other strong options.

With the support of Teal Thibaud and Rondell Crier, familiar and respected leaders, the group worked together to narrow the names down to the top twelve, then interested kids took notebooks home to sketch potential logos. Finally Peterson, the client, selected the name and logo design she liked the best, and Parrott incorporated the ArchWay logo exactly as Dakota Rice drew it, with zero interference or adjustment.

Blooming artists and designers like Dakota Rice have benefited from the steady, patient support of Studio Everything leader, Rondell Crier and the work Glass House Collective has put into activating the neighborhood blocks around Glass Street over the last 3-4 years. Back in December of 2014 GHC gave what was then their headquarters building a new façade. Peterson also believes in the work going on in the neighborhood and demonstrated her investment via the logo grant, paying for Parrott’s consultation time. All leaders agree that collaborative partnerships are key, allowing for teachable moments in economics. For example, as part of the event older kids got involved setting up little shops, demonstrating the cycle and flow of buyers and sellers. This all builds on work put in over the long run, as demonstrated at the playground next to the ArchWay building. GHC worked with anchor organizations TPL and CNE to turn what was once a vacant lot into a pocket park, ideal for events and community activities.

As Crier sees it, ArchWay is well-positioned to provide neighborhood kids with a rare experience: being heard. “Anything active here is a good thing, and it allowed kids to get involved in something adults normally control. Investment over time builds trust, and these kids have much to gain from genuine interest in their ideas.”

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