Verge Pipe Media is an entirely self-funded iOS & Android mobile app development team and social media marketing agency. We have aspirations for significant growth but, we are also exceedingly proud of our humble roots and our privilege within the Auburn - Opelika community (a city that is consistently near the top of national rankings for best small-metro areas to start a business).
In start-up life, the "bootstrap ethos" is pervasive; it's what you do until you have a product that is hot enough to garner the attention of investors. On mainstreet America, bootstrapping is the norm - it's business-as-usual. Bootstrapping is insanely hard-work but according to the U.S. Small Business Administration and the National Economic Council, the combined efforts of small business owners around the nation yield roughly 2 out of every 3 (net) new jobs.
And so here at Verge Pipe Media, we're taking the idea behind Small Business Week and we're extending it through the month of June. We'll have lots of content focused on supporting #smallbiz in the coming weeks, but we're starting with a few shout-outs that hit particularly close to home.
Our friends in the Southside District of Auburn, Alabama, run the gamut. The Southside houses: one of the city's finest seafood restaurants, a used book store and coffee shop, a jewelry boutique, a wings joint and a tattoo studio. We love the diversity, personality and creativity that envelopes our little corner of the universe.
Amsterdam Cafe (410 South Gay Street | 334-826-8181)
The Amsterdam Cafe has been heralded as the Jewel of the Auburn dining scene. AC's team has lead the charge for farm-to-table food, boasting fresh, local produce and seriously exceptional seafood. They are forward-thinking and community-driven, maintaining a strong online presence on Facebook, Urban Spoon and other social platforms.
They keep their pages full of high-definition food porn (daily features) for everyone to drool over. This little restaurant is the shining star of the Southside District and fits right in with the art-driven community that hangs around the area. The Amsterdam Cafe is beloved by most Auburn-ites, old and young. The corner restaurant is the embodiment of successful small business, and Verge Pipe Media is proud to call them neighbors (thanks for all the free foot traffic past our window!).
VPM's own, @micahdwhitehead has been serving there since 2009, and, as such, we have the pleasure of lusting after his takeout lunches almost daily.
The Gnu’s Room is the neatest hole in the wall book 'n’ coffee shop around; an absolute necessity for any college town. The Gnu’s Room itself is a local non-profit, focused on promoting community arts + literature. Gnu's started as a used book store - and the staff has done an excellent job of maintaining those roots and preserving a distinct book-lover's vibe.
The book store also houses Mama Mocha’s Coffee Roastery, an independent roaster and the maker of hands-down the best Mocha in town. These two businesses combined make for a friendly atmosphere where you can sit down with someone you don’t know and say hello, thumb through old books or caffeine-load for an epic study session.
The Gnu's Room runs a weekly events calendar featuring local authors, musicians and poets. You can follow them on Facebook and make sure you read their blog called The Joystick Journey. Renovation (!) plans are in the works and a fundraising drive is in full swing. To find out how you can help or to be added to the events newsletter, drop them a note via thegnusroom [at] gmail [dot] com.
Perch Bead Studio (416 South Gay Street | 334-209-1378)
Perch is a quaint bead studio with a vintage vibe. Inside the green door, customers are able to purchase pre-made jewelry or create their own from a wide variety of materials. Hanging on old wooden doors and in glass bowls, customers can comb through beads in all shapes, sizes and prices and, with the staff’s advice, any level of jewelry making can be achieved.
Perch hosts regular events from their studio, including trunk sales, jewelry shows, workshops and evening open houses (cupcakes and wine, anyone?!). They are a vibrant part of the Southside arts community, coordinating events and promoting local goings-on through their social media channels. For more information or to look at some of their creations, check out their Facebook page or follow them on Twitter @perchbeadstudio.
Shenanigans (422 South Gay Street | 334-821-7250)
We have crazy respect for artists and designers. Verge Pipe Media works in the realm of digital media but talent is talent. The tattoo artists at Shenanigans are top notch and get rave reviews from local patrons. Shenanigans is open Monday through Saturday, from noon until 8pm on weekdays and 9pm on Friday and Saturday. The tattoo studio is acclaimed for its clean, well-organized space and non-intimidating staff.
First-timers are welcome at Shenanigans and the establishment's website hosts a number of after-care and FAQ-style posts for those that are curious. Samples of each artist's work are also online and Shenanigan's Facebook wall has become a stream of recently completed work. Rave reviews blanket Facebook's 'Recent Posts' and 'Recommendations' section and local search results yield 5-star reviews all-around.
So, about that Verge Pipe Media "brand"...
Willie's (422B South Gay Street | 334-502-0012)
Willie’s Wings and Things has been an Auburn late-night institution since opening in January 1996. Owners Brandt and Sharry Tucker have maintained a family-owned and operated business for the past 16 years and you can still find them cooking food well into the night to feed the appetites of many hungry students. Tucker is active in community politics, speaking on many occasions at the Auburn City Council meetings as a representative for small businesses in the Auburn community.
Even though they epitomize the saying “hole in the wall joint”, many students know Willie’s as the best option for late-night dining in the Auburn delivery scene. Students returning home from a late night on the town can count on Willie’s to be open until as late as 3 a.m., delivering delicious chicken wings and sandwiches to the masses.
Willie’s has an established social media presence on Facebook and Twitter, as well as a 90 percent positive rating on Urban Spoon. Along with many other people in Auburn, we here at Verge Pipe Media wish they were open for lunch too!
Contributions by: Summer 2012 Imagineers