Leaving Lakeshore: Business leader reflects on moving from Homewood to downtown Birmingham

Leaving Lakeshore: Business leader reflects on moving from Homewood to downtown Birmingham
Bill Todd, president of o2ideas, takes one last look at the firm's offices on Lakeshore Drive. (contributed)

This story has zero shelf life. It’s a Friday afternoon. It’s also the last Friday afternoon that my company, o2ideas, will do business at 600 University Park Place in Homewood.

Monday morning, this won’t be a story at all. We’ll be in dazzling new digs in downtown Birmingham. And I couldn’t be more excited!

But for today, just for today, I want to reflect on our 10 years here.

image001O2 was 40 years old when we moved the business from Birmingham’s Southside to the more pastoral suburban surroundings of Homewood. Sweet Homewood, the place where I graduated high school and made lifelong friends.

Sweet Homewood, where 82 years ago our founder, Shelley Stewart, was brought home to the servant’s quarters of a local residence. Five years later, he became a homeless and abused child, only to wander on foot for miles and happen upon the same Crestline horse stable where his older brother worked, ate and slept. He returned here to Lakeshore in 2007 where our offices sit on the very lake site where he and his brothers fished and hunted for food to survive.

The Financial Center will be o2ideas' new home. (file)
The Financial Center will be o2ideas’ new home. (file)

Our 10 years on Lakeshore have been amazing. We’ve reinvented ourselves during that time, just like o2 did in its first four decades before that.

Being just across the street from beautiful Samford University has been tremendous for us. Our relationships with Samford people, from President Andrew Westmoreland to the countless others in the Samford Nation, are cherished forever.

And the Lakeshore Trail. This idyllic path along Shades Creek has been a delight to the soul and to the body. Jogging on it during the relentless Homewood summers and chilly winter evenings has brought healthier hearts to me and many other o2’ers.

The seasons changed over and over again. Each had their own beauty but the same rhythmic cycle of change. The people of o2 came and went. We enjoyed great triumphs, some challenges, some disappointments, but all of it has been great learning and it’s a wonderful life.

It’s hard to be so pumped about going to a new place on a new journey, and yet fully express the joy and amazement over having been a witness to the last 10 years.

On to the next!


Bill Todd is president of o2ideas advertising and public relations firm. This story first appeared on the no ordinary joe blog. O2ideas is moving this weekend into its new offices on the 15th floor of the Financial Center at 505 20th Street North in Birmingham.

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