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What’s the history of Studio Gear and this office location?
“We purchased the building in 1998. It had formerly been Forrer Businesses Interiors. All three of our locations have been in the Third Ward. Our first office was at 126 N. Jefferson St. Our second location was at 117 N. Broadway.”
How has the neighborhood changed since you’ve been there?
“When we started renting in the Third Ward, people thought we were crazy because the neighborhood was basically just warehouses. But we decided to put our business there because we wanted to be close to downtown and the larger business corporations. And the difference in rent between being north of the freeway or in the Third Ward was huge at the time.
“We also lived in the Third Ward for 20 years. The difference between now and then is this: Our condo was at 318 E. Chicago St. On any given day, on a Friday or Saturday evening, if we had friends stopping to see us, they could park right in front of our building. Now, 318 Chicago is next door to the Kimpton Journeyman Hotel.”
Who are your clients?
“We work with a lot of Fortune 500 companies and nonprofits. Then we work with a lot of venues, like the Pfister Hotel. We had people working at a big nonprofit gala there recently. We also do work for theaters throughout Wisconsin. We have worked closely with places like The Rep, and we are just doing something now with the Skylight Music Theatre.”
What’s it like to work at Studio Gear?
“A lot of the people who work for Studio Gear come out of college theater lighting production programs. What we say to young people that we are recruiting is that they get the opportunity to work with the latest equipment and be creative. We use lighting at corporate shows just as you would use lighting in a theater setting, because there is that expectation that you need to be entertaining.”
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