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Six freelance friends transform former church space, launch Clockwork 9

Clockwork 9 Studios

After working as freelancers and small business entrepreneurs in graphic design, marketing and video production, a group of friends looked up last year and mused, “hey, what if we pool our talents and open our own company?”

That’s exactly what Chris Brown, Andrew Spirk, Eric Way, Adam Huffman, Nicholas Roth, and Dave Pelosi did when they merged their practices to open Clockwork 9 Studios in an old church office at 14305 Madison Ave. in Lakewood last month.
 
The group had worked together in various ways over the past six years, during which they had each expressed an interest in working together more regularly.
 
“One day the stars aligned and fate decided for us,” says Brown. “It wasn't a split second decision but rather a unique opportunity that we all saw as clear as day at the same time. When something like that happens, you don't ignore it. We embraced it and once we laid out our plans, we put everything in motion.”

The six-man company describes itself as “visual marketing redefined,” offering video production services to marketing and everything in between for small businesses and Fortune 500 companies alike, with unique marketing plans for each client. “We want to do something that’s never been done,” says Brown of their approach. “We want to create the wheel, we don’t want to reinvent the wheel.”
 
He continues: “We wanted to provide a place where if you wanted to, you could create a concept and see it through all the way to production,” says the marketing expert. “We offer everything [clients] need, from branding to commercials.”
 
But before Clockwork 9 could open its doors, there was a bit of work to do on the 3,000-square-foot space. The 1,500 square feet on the first floor had 20-year old commercial carpeting and laminate tile in the kitchen. The space required outlets and proper office space.
 
Instead of hiring contractors to do the work, the team decided to do it themselves. They read books and watched YouTube videos on how to create the space they wanted while also focusing on the environment.
 
Clockwork 9’s new floors are reclaimed wood pallets found on Craigslist and through local businesses. The group cut, installed, sanded and stained the slats themselves. They fashioned the desks from reclaimed wood as well. A fresh coat of paint and a hand drawn logo rounded it all out.
 
“We were using those beautiful resources that were available,” says Brown. “It was a six-week process to do the whole studio. We’re really trying to create an environment that thinks outside the box.”
 
The team transformed the 1,500-square-foot basement into a storage and hangout area, complete with darts, air hockey, a projector and ping pong.
 
Business has been great so far, reports Brown, and Clockwork 9 is forming lasting relationships with clients, including Sherwin-Williams Automotive Finishes, Ridgid and Coppertop Pub.

“Our goal isn't to do a project once with the client,” he says. “Our goal is for a client to continuously use us for all of their needs. To date we have had three major video projects and many small projects.”
 

Read more articles by Karin Connelly Rice.

Karin Connelly Rice enjoys telling people's stories, whether it's a promising startup or a life's passion. Over the past 18 years she has reported on the local business community for publications such as Inside Business and Cleveland Magazine. She was editor of the Rocky River/Lakewood edition of In the Neighborhood and was a reporter and photographer for the Amherst News-Times. At Fresh Water she enjoys telling the stories of Clevelanders who are shaping and embracing the business and research climate in Cleveland.
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