Last fall, we bought a new building for our digital agency, Starnes Digital. The building is located at 2712 19th Street in Homewood and we purchased it from Rosenberger’s Birmingham Trunk last.

We’ve been renovating the space for several weeks and we’re finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. It’s set to be completed toward the end of August and our team will move in beginning of September. We’re really happy with the way things are taking shape and coming together.

Choosing to do this, to buy a building and renovate the space for our digital team, was not a small undertaking for me or for the company. It takes me back to when I started as a publisher nine years ago when I acquired 280 Living in June of 2008. I had no money, no credit, and no experience in publishing. I had this community newspaper and I realized that I was probably going to need some resources. I realized I might need a camera because I needed to be able to take a picture.

So I went to Best Buy on 280 and I looked at their wide selection of cameras. They had a lot of options to choose from and, of course, I went for the cheapest one. I found a Sony Cyber Shot that was 7.2 megapixels and cost $135.

It took me two different trips the Best Buy and probably three hours of pondering in the store to determine if I could afford it. I really didn’t have $135 to spend but I knew I was going to have to have a camera. I finally got to the point when I realized I had no choice. I didn’t have the option to not buy the camera if I was serious about having this newspaper and turning it into something special. So I bought the camera.

Obviously we’ve updated our equipment since then and now, nine years later, we’ve purchased this building for our digital team. Our capabilities, because of our investments in both equipment and people, are on a level that was far beyond what I had dreamed when I started in the publishing business.

The lesson I learned when I bought that camera and that I have learned over the years as we’ve continued to scale up our business is this: I have to invest in this business. We are never going to be in a place where I’m content. We are going to continue to strive for newer and greater things.

It’s amazing to look back over the nine-year journey and to see where purchasing that $135 camera has taken us. Little by little, we continue to push toward greater things and grow this company, and I don’t see that changing anytime soon.

– Dan Starnes