After a decade in the suburbs, a local branding and marketing firm has traded its founder’s home office for space in Richmond’s Bookbindery Building.
Five Nineteen, recently rebranded from Five19 Creative, set up shop earlier this year in the multitenant office building at 2201 W. Broad St., relocating operations from owner and creative director Derek Machado’s residence in Midlothian.
The 11-year-old firm, which markets primarily for senior living communities, signed a three-year lease for 1,800 square feet in the building.
For the past eight years, Machado and his staff have worked out of a space above his garage, which he customized to accommodate the business when he moved to the Hallsley neighborhood.
“We liked to call it ‘Happy Days’ because it was over the garage like Fonzie,” he said.
The firm for years consisted primarily of Machado and associate creative director Becca Hardy, but he said it outgrew the space in recent years, with a broadening client roster prompting a staff expansion.
In addition to five employees on site, Five Nineteen’s staff includes Wanda Bass, a Martin Agency and Sidall veteran who’s serving as senior media director, and digital strategy director Shawn Deane, a former Richmonder now based in the Outer Banks.
Originally from Brooklyn, New York, Machado moved to Richmond after growing up in Newport News.
After graduating from Shepherd University in West Virginia, Machado worked as a designer and creative director for several local shops, including Bernard Hodes Group and Riddick Advertising. After a year at Riddick, he launched Five Nineteen, basing the business out of his house to be closer to his daughter, having named the company after her birthdate.
“My daughter had a lot of health concerns at the time and was constantly getting sick, so to have a better balance of life and being able to take care of her, I decided to go out on my own,” Machado said.
After some freelancing for Riddick, Machado picked up clients such as MeadWestvaco (now WestRock) and Mondial Assistance USA (now Allianz). He also signed Brandermill Woods, opening a door to senior living communities that he said has gotten wider as Five Nineteen has grown.
Over the past year, he said, the agency has done work for nearly 40 senior living communities in 11 states, including 16 under the same client in Kansas.
“I think we’ve positioned ourselves as a national player on the senior living front, which has been a really good growth model for us,” Machado said.
Beyond the senior living industry, Five Nineteen is lead agency for local law firm Allen & Allen and has done work for Midlothian dance school Encore Studio. Machado wouldn’t disclose the company’s annual revenue but said it averages 10 to 15 clients at a time.
It was while serving on the board for the Advertising Club of Richmond that Machado met Hardy, who has led the agency’s creative production with him since 2011. More recently, the staff has grown to include marketing manager Margaux Sprinkel, art director Julie Alvarado and designer Lora Portsche.
Machado said the move provides a more central location for clients and puts his staff closer to local collaborators such as The Branching and Overcoast, two downtown production studios.
“It’s been a little bit tricky for me giving up being closer to home, but at the end of the day it’s what’s really best for the business and the continued growth,” he said. “And my team really loves being closer to the city and where they live and having more food options. It’s a better vibe overall, and we’re all really happy with the transition.”
At The Bookbindery Building, Five Nineteen joins other media companies such as Richmond Magazine and Communication Design. It also joins another firm that recently flocked to the Fan: film company Orange Frame, which moved to Robinson Street from Scott’s Addition early this year.
The building is managed and leased by Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer. Machado worked with Thalhimer’s Reilly Marchant on the lease.