When GRI was founded in 2002, our mission was to provide the best services at the best prices. There was no mention of doing business in the lap of luxury. And our “inaugural digs” certainly reflected that austere mindset.
The first GRI office building was a dilapidated warehouse next to Kennedy’s Tire Shop on Almaden Boulevard. The interior was one large room with a cement floor.
You could say this place lacked ambiance—or hospitable conditions. Like the lack of bathrooms. It was a good time to give up coffee—or risk annoying the landlord next door when you had to use his commode. We learned a lot at this place—like how to hold it until lunch.
This was a great building if you were a nature lover who didn’t want to actually go outside. Spectacular waterfalls cascaded from the ceiling when it rained. Sunlight filtered through the dirt-caked windows, giving off an eerie glow, like a canopied jungle. We heard the creatures. Luckily we never saw them. Although sometimes we smelled them.
Friends and family refused to walk through the muddy expanse to get to the front door. This wasn’t that important because we didn’t have to please them. But when clients balked at stepping into the primordial ooze and ruining their shoes, it was time to move on.
GRI #2, located on Giguere Court, was an improvement over the Tiire Shop—just as soon as we re-painted, re-carpeted, re-walled, and re-arranged everything. There was a big bonus: real parking spaces in the front of the building and real landscaping—actual plants that were not only green, they were alive.
Across from our office was a storefront DIY alternative church. The church folk hosted parking lot hootenannies and played music that inspired us—to hurry up and get our work done so we could leave. The atmosphere came in handy when praying for clients to pay in a timely manner (as most small businesses do).
However, as GRI grew, the office space became too small. We were on the move again!
GRI #3 on Emory Street is still a recurring nightmare. It’s hard to imagine we spent five loooonngg years in that ugly ol’ piece of concrete. Without central air or heat, there were two temperatures year round: center-of-the-earth hot and frost-bite-your-patooty cold. In each case, the air was so stifling it was like breathing cotton balls.
In the mornings, the eau de motor oil fragrance wafted across the cavernous building, making it necessary to carry a clothes pin at all times—for your nose. Obviously the rats didn’t mind it, because they stuck around. (Ask Roger about his trapping skills.)
The exterior of the building was equally dismal—so bad that taggers didn’t even bother to deface it with graffiti like they had to the rest of the neighborhood. Can a building ruin your motivation?
Since we did not want to find out, we went in search of GRI #4. Eureka! We found it in Morgan Hill—on a circular drive with a grassy tree-line knoll in the front and lots of shrubs and flowers. We are finally in a building that matches our terrific staff and company.
We are home for good. Stop by for a visit. Especially if you’d like coffee or tea now. Or in a few years if you’d like a fresh-picked apple or homemade lemonade (just planted the trees). We even have our own restrooms!