Packing up

After eight years of leasing office space, Sally
Koepke knew it was time to make a change.

“We sat down and did the
math, and it was staggering
what we spent on rent,” says Koepke, principal partner at McHale & Koepke
Communications. “We could
have owned a building had
we made that commitment
eight years ago. We decided
we wanted to be owners, not

The firm began looking at
locations on its own, then
got a real estate agent
involved in the search for the
perfect location. The firm
used the same real estate
agent who had helped find
its original office space in
Beachwood because he
understood the firm and
what is was looking for in a
new location, Koepke says.

“We wanted a building that
had a lot of light,” she says.
“We wanted it to be open,
inviting and conducive to the
creative environment.”

McHale & Koepke eventually found a location in Solon,
but even though employees
knew about the move from
the beginning, many were
still apprehensive. But by
showing them the new location and sharing how it
would benefit the firm, the
company’s leaders got
employees to buy in to the
transition, Koepke says.

By being upfront and getting employees involved in
the process with things such
as picking wall colors,
designing a new logo and
preparing the logistics of the
move, the firm made the
transition a smooth one.

“Whenever anyone feels
involved in a project, they
are going to take ownership
of it,” Koepke says. “So everybody felt a part of this move,
and offered good comments,
suggestions and solutions.”

Another important part of
moving is hiring an office
planner who can offer suggestions about placement of
office items and make sure
everything in the new space
is up to code, Koepke says.

“A good office planner who
understands your business
can help design space to
your goals of what your business does,” she says.

The key to a successful
move is planning and organizing, Koepke says.

“Several weeks in advance,
we had a packing day, where
things we wouldn’t need
until after the move were
packed up,” she says. “We
created a master layout of
the new space, then provided it to everybody so they
could code their boxes. Each
space and cube had a number. It was ideal. Everything
was coded so it correlated to
the work areas, then the
movers knew exactly where
to put everything when they
got (to the new building).”

Being organized and limiting work assignments the
day the move began helped
the firm complete the move
over one weekend and be up
and running the following

Koepke says it’s vital to
keep the lines of communication open during a move,
not just with your employees
but with clients and potential
clients, as well. The firm sent
out an e-mail blast about a
month before the move,
announcing its new location
and contact information,
then sent another one a
week before the move.

The move has provided the
firm with a new, fresh work
environment and saved it
money in the long run.

“We would have had to
renew our lease and throw
money out the door,” she
says. “It wouldn’t have hurt
our business to stay there,
but doing what we did definitely gave everyone a new
look and feel. It’s a beautiful
spot here — more conducive
to what we do than the old

HOW TO REACH: McHale & Koepke Communications, (440) 542-0080 or

How to move locations successfully

Sally Koepke, principal partner
at McHale & Koepke
Communications, offers these
tips to ensure a successful

  • Contact the Small Business
    Administration to see if you
    qualify for a loan to help with the

  • Hire an office planner.
    “Once you communicate what
    you do and how you envision it,
    they can take your thoughts and
    articulate it into a floor plan,”
    Koepke says. “There are critical
    things you want to take into consideration that they can assist

  • Don’t try to move by yourself. Hire a moving company,
    and if you have cubicles, have
    the company you bought them
    from move them. “Our company
    was able to take a look at where
    we were, where we were going,
    and be able to understand if we
    needed to order any new items,”
    Koepke says.

  • Make sure essential computer files are saved to disks or
    to some other type of storage.

  • Label everything. “We took
    our floor plan and assigned each
    area a number,” Koepke says. “It
    was simple, and that made it
    easy to know where all the supply room stuff went, our backup
    CDs went, our art files went and
    the kitchen supplies went.”

  • Give advance notice to your
    customers, clients and

  • Plan ahead for your utilities
    and with the postal service.

  • Host an open house when
    the move is complete.