Every business needs a home that reflects its culture, helps its team be more efficient and welcomes both employees and clients.
When The Storyhive opened in 2015, our East End home was an approximately 700-square-foot office, only large enough to fit three desks and a sofa. The office’s adjoining neighbor was a barber shop and every time a toddler expressed his displeasure about having his hair cut, we could hear him wailing. Sometimes, the barber shop was so busy, it was tough for us to find a parking space.
As we grew our business, more and more clients wanted to meet us at our offices and have their photos and footage filmed in our studio. We realized we needed to upgrade!
Within a few months of our launch, we moved into larger digs -- an approximately 3,000-square-foot office located in a building occupied by the fantastic neighbors of East End District and Houston Media Source, just off of the Houston MetroRail. We could walk to neighborhood spots like Champ Burger, the BBVA Dynamo Stadium and Ninfa’s on Navigation. Ultimately, our friends at mak studio and Sigma Brewing Co. moved in across the street. Nearby food, friends and entertainment abounded.
To help us make the place our own, local artists including Anat Ronen, painted murals on it. Today, we tell visitors we’re located in the building with a mural depicting bees and hives.
It seemed huge and perfect at the time for the three Hivesters. Alex and Tom rode their bikes inside the offices during their creative breaks. We had plenty of room to shoot videos inside our studio. We shot game shows, interviews with executives, a take on the Wizard of Oz and a puppet video, among other productions.
As business grew, more Hivesters joined us and soon a dozen people filled our offices. Shooting inside of the studio became increasingly more complicated. We debated whether we should rent a bigger space or buy a facility. Being an entrepreneur means you must often take risks and bet on your growth. We voted for buying since rental rates had soared as more people discovered the historic East End. Townhome developers snapped up buildings and razed them faster than we could even drive by the properties.
We fell in love with several properties, but they didn’t tick all of the boxes for what we needed. Having a swimming pool seemed fun, but parking spaces seemed much more important. Properties near the light rail seemed fantastic until we realized the sounds would interrupt all our shoots. Our broker at Davis Commercial was incredibly patient and realized we had unique needs.
It took us nearly two years to find a space that met all of our requirements -- a building with open space for constructing sets and shooting footage, high ceilings, at least double our current space, far from the sounds of whistling trains, plenty of parking and located near our homes in the East End. An outdoor patio for breaks and parties would be an additional perk and we wanted to be able to park our van, Bee-Roll, inside of our building to make it more efficient to load and unload, especially during Houston’s notoriously hot and rainy days.
After touring dozens of properties, we finally stumbled upon an empty metal warehouse located near our current offices and East End favorites Moon Tower, Voodoo Queen and Xela Coffee Roasters. We can see the downtown Houston skyline from the property and The Storyhive owners can walk to work using the hike and bike trail.
In 2019, we purchased 4010 Canal Street, less than two miles east of downtown. The approximately 15,000-square-foot building will house a more than 2,400-square-foot studio, one of the largest purpose-built media production studios inside of Houston’s 610 Loop. The studio will be equipped with a lighting grid. The building will also include a green room, conference room, dedicated editing suite, kitchen studio and warehouse space, all available for rent for commercial and independent projects.
We’ll also have a 9,000-square-foot parking lot for clients and production crews. The building’s large vehicle access doorway will give clients the ability to showcase heavy equipment in their videos.
We’re looking forward to filming everything from cooking shows to music videos in our new home. Interviews with top executives will be so much easier with a larger studio and green room. Of course, we’re hoping our crew of puppeteers has the chance to put their skills back in action on another video starring a cast of puppets!
We want the filmmaking community and our clients to tell us what they want out of a downtown Houston studio. So from noon to 5 p.m. on October 19 and 20, we will give guided tours of this ‘work-in-progress’ structure during the Eastwood Civic Association’s Annual Historic Home Tour.
During the home tour, local artist Anat Ronen will paint a mural on the future Storyhive home. SweetCup Gelato owner Jasmine Chida will create delicious honey-inspired flavors for the Saturday afternoon portion of the tour. Her creations will include honey from Nicole Buergers’ Bee2Bee honey, which has long supplied honey to The Storyhive for our annual holiday gifts.
We do think Jena and Tom Gandy are a bit bonkers because not only is The Storyhive on the tour, but so is their home. This must have been Jena’s way of convincing Tom to finally check off that honey-do-list.
The building will be so unique, it’s generating plenty of buzz in the local video production company as well as in the media. The Houston Business Journal, Houston Chronicle and Mike McGuff have written about our new Hive.
We hope you can stop by! And come back next year when the complete Hive is on the Eastwood home tour again.