By Veronica Sandate Craker
Two blossoming tech businesses that started out with just a handful of employees are now sharing in the experience to literally see their companies expand.
For the past few years the Elevate and &yet offices sat side-by-side on the 100 block of Gage Boulevard. Today, Paul Carlisle, founder of Elevate, is getting settled into his new Richland office at 2527 N. Columbia Center Blvd. The building has been transformed from an old auto sales business to tech-friendly environment.
Meanwhile back at the &yet offices Founder and CEO Adam Brault has broken down the wall that once separated the two companies to make room for his employees.
“I give a lot of credit to Paul for having the vision and foresight to create a unique circumstance that allowed both businesses to benefit and really to enhance the entire local community of businesses that have existed between these two spaces and making one wonderful move that dramatically improved the opportunity to do both,” Brault said.
Carlisle said he knew he needed a bigger space as he began to hire on more employees. His business started with five and has grown to 15 employees.
“We’ve been hiring some people and we needed about twice as much space to grow,” Carlisle said.
Carlisle started looking for a new facility last year. He was able to buy some time to look around by utilizing one of the Tri-City Regional Chamber of Commerce’s programs.
“The Chamber of Commerce had that big incentive program and I was able to pull some funds out of the program and rearrange my cubicle set, which allowed me to stuff more employees in the same place,” Carlisle said. “So that bought me a little bit of time and allowed me to shop for a little bit of space.”
While searching for a new home, he noticed that his neighbors, &yet, were also busting at the seams. Much like Carlisle’s business, Brault has seen his staff increase from six to 17 employees.
“When I found out about this opportunity I approached Adam and just said ‘I know you’ve been growing — I can see through the windows that people are sharing desks — don’t you want to grow?’ and I think I had to give him a second to calm down because he was so excited,” Carlisle said.
As Carlisle moved into his new office, he was able to gain help renovating by utilizing the same companies that he also services.
“It just needed a lot of work to get it where it’s a tech-friendly space,” he said. “The nice thing about being in business-to-business IT support is that we had a lot of really good customers that were able to help up out.”
The company has even submitted an application with the City of Richland to get help with the exterior beautification of the building.
“It’s unfortunate that we have to move spaces so we’re no longer in the same tech park that we were trying to develop.” Carlisle said. “But there’s still room to grow that way.”
The two businessmen actually met more than three years ago when Carlisle happened to call up Brault with a business proposition.
“I called Adam out of the blue and we just talked about the business and we talked about how he worked with clients and I talked about how I worked with clients and I mentioned it might be a good fit for him to just keep working hard and growing the business,” Carlisle said. “Just that, that business needs to be named Elevate.”
While the two are friends now, Brault admitted his response was not what Carlisle wanted to hear.
“I basically said ‘bite me,’” he said jokingly.
The two men can laugh about their first interaction now. Carlisle even likes to call Brault “Papa Bear” a title he himself once held before Brault’s company grew bigger than his own.
“There’s a lot of great things to come out of this,” Brault said. “And we expect a lot of great things to come out of knowing each other.”