Marketing firms make moves to Manchester, Shockoe Bottom

Release the Hounds moved above Ironclad Coffee Roasters at 1805 E. Grace St. (Jonathan Spiers)

Two downtown marketing firms are getting a change of scenery on opposite sides of the river.

Branding agency Release the Hounds has moved to 1805 E. Grace St. in Shockoe Bottom, filling the second-floor space above Ironclad Coffee Roasters in the recently renovated former firehouse.

The second-floor space features views of the city skyline. (Jonathan Spiers)

The agency moved from a storefront at 305 W. Broad St., where it had been located since John Mills founded it 10 years ago. Mills said he was alerted to the space when previous occupant Buddy Technology, a local insurance startup, was looking for someone to take over its lease when it was accepted to a three-month business accelerator out of state.

“They had to move and said, ‘We don’t want to give this space up, because we love it, but we have to so we don’t have to pay double rent,’” Mills said. “I shot over the next day to look at the space and just fell in love with it – the charm of the old historic building, and the windows in this place are just incredible. It overlooks the city.”

Mills signed a one-year lease with options for three years with building owner Bruce Vanderbilt of Vanderbilt Properties. The space totals 1,750 square feet, providing more room for the agency’s staff of six than the 1,100-square-foot storefront on Broad.

John Mills

Mills said he had been looking for a new space with room to grow the company when a new tenant lined up for the Broad Street building necessitated the move. He said the tenant will fill the four-story building, which is managed by Bank Street Advisors’ Christian Kiniry.

Kiniry could not be reached for comment Monday.

“Going from West Broad, which we absolutely loved being there and the grit and vibe of that street, to here is just a total change of pace. We’re on the second floor, so no one’s just popping in, and no cars are running through our windows,” Mills said, referring to last year when a car involved in a collision on Broad crashed into the glass-walled storefront.

Release the Hounds had been sharing the Broad Street space with Egghunt Records. Mills said Egghunt’s Adam Henceroth is taking the record label back into his home office.

The Manchester Pie Factory building at 612 Hull St. (BizSense file)

The agency joins other media firms that have moved to Shockoe Bottom in recent months. Around the corner, Red Maverick Media opened a Richmond outpost at 104 N. 19th St., leasing space from Pam and Todd Hervey of Fuel Creative, also located in the building. Farther down the street, Christina Dick’s TFB Agency set up shop in The Superior Building.

Meanwhile, digital marketing firm Torx Media is preparing to move from Shockoe Slip to the Manchester Pie Factory building at 612 Hull St. The 10-year-old firm signed a five-year lease for a 2,200-square-foot space in the building, which is owned by New York-based MJP Acquisitions.

Torx’s four-person staff had been sharing space with Randall Branding Agency at 1329 E. Cary St. Torx principal Christopher Rhines said the two companies decided to find their own offices after 5 1/2 years in the same 3,200-square-foot space. Cary Street Associates LLC owns the building.

Torx’s Christopher Rhines, Jordan Pye, Sammy Santosh and Jeff Pollard, from left. (Courtesy Torx)

“Our two companies are going off in their separate directions now. It won’t be as confusing anymore when clients show up,” Rhines said.

Randall Branding’s Jesse Randall said he’s looking for a new space between 1,400 and 2,000 square feet. He has not engaged an agent.

Torx worked with JLL’s John Simmons and Adam Lawson to find the Manchester space, which Rhines said they’ll move into by October. Thalhimer’s Amy Broderick and Isaac DeRegibus represented MJP in lease negotiations.

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