September 29, 2015
News & Opinion: Memories of the Phoenix Building from Dylan
My favorite day of the year in the Phoenix Building was always the day before Christmas, especially the year they were ripping out the carpet and painting all around us in the back office (later our warehouse) on that day. Seeing what was beneath that ugly, bubbly sea green carpet all those years was fascinating. And since it’s always a really slow day, we usually bring in (just a little bit of) Baileys for our coffee in the morning and go out to lunch together—which we can never do otherwise because we always have to have someone watching the phones.
I also always loved the days on "the floor" together, when we'd literally sit on the floor in the middle of the room for meetings. And, before we had a special projects department and began hiring dedicated people to complete the work, whenever we had a big, special order we’d all drop what we were doing to stuff envelopes and complete the project together—for however long that took. Jack didn’t often come out into the larger office for too long, but he always joined us and stayed until the project was completed on those days. Those were always fun, special days, because we were out from behind our computers and the camaraderie was so high.
While they certainly aren’t good memories, the company meetings we had to get updates from Jack on the progression of David Schwartz (his best friend) and his battle with cancer are certainly strong and vivid ones.
I’m going to miss the neighborhood, especially watching as it grew up (economically and literally, with so much new construction and so many building renovations) around us. It was a neighborhood of diners and antique stores when I arrived at the company in 2003, and now it’s full of fancy bars and restaurants and high-end retailers. The one thing that’s kind of cool is that we’re moving to a neighborhood where I think we’ll be amidst a very similar progression—though I still miss the diner and antique stores, and there’s a sadness to seeing all those things go as the money pours in. There are quite a few places I cherish in our new neighborhood that I hope weather the process and thrive in it.
About Blyth Meier
Blyth Meier joined us to lead our marketing department in 2015 after doing that work for the Milwaukee Film Festival for the previous five years. While she made good use her filmmaking degree at that job, here she returns to her first love—books. As an undergraduate English major at the University of North Dakota, Blyth’s favorite time of year was the annual Writers Conference, which brought many of her soon-to-be favorite authors to the remote Northern Prairie: Peter Matthiessen, August Wilson, Toi Derricotte, Mark Doty, Natasha Trethewey, and Terry Tempest Williams. Blyth lives in the Riverwest neighborhood of Milwaukee, where she gardens, cooks, takes photographs, makes films, and participates in a yearly 24-hour bike race. At 800-CEO-READ, she runs our social media accounts, writes for In the Books, and is the keeper of all our marketing spreadsheets.