October 4, 2017
BOSTON — At its annual IC100 event in Boston Tuesday, the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City (ICIC) and FORTUNE named Atomic Object as one of the country's fastest-growing companies headquartered in an economically distressed urban area.
Over its 16-year history, the custom software consultancy has outgrown its offices twice. Each time, Atomic or its leaders opted to purchase a historic building in Grand Rapids’ Wealthy Theatre Historic District—first at 941, then 1034 Wealthy Street SE.
Atomic Object CEO and Co-Founder Carl Erickson says it might have been more convenient and less expensive to move to the suburbs, but investing in the Wealthy Street corridor proved central to Atomic’s identity.
“As we started thinking about why our location mattered, we realized that the neighborhood and its businesses had become an intimate part of who we were,” he said. “We don’t have a cafeteria; we have Brick Road Pizza Co. We don’t have our own bar; we have The Meanwhile. We don’t have decent coffee, really; we have The Sparrows.”
Atomic has worked to reciprocate the benefit bestowed by its home. The consultancy has revitalized two historic buildings; its 45 Grand Rapids-based developers and designers frequent local businesses; and its leaders launched SoftwareGR—a nonprofit that fosters the area’s software community.
Grand Rapids Mayor Rosalynn Bliss says Atomic’s tenure has added energy and innovation to the neighborhood.
“The future of our city depends on businesses that are deeply rooted in our community,” she said. “Atomic Object is one of these companies, and it is helping to grow our local economy by creating jobs and wealth for our residents.”
Find the full IC100 List published in FORTUNE October 5.