This month, we’re celebrating 15 years in business!
In 1997, Julio Colmenares came to Charlotte, North Carolina from Caracas, Venezuela on what was meant to be a temporary stay. If you live in Charlotte, or if you’ve ever visited, you know that it’s no surprise that he fell in love with everything the Queen City has to offer.
As his three-month visit came to a close, he decided to extend his visit, turning his temporary stay into a permanent one. The city wasn’t the only thing he fell in love with in Charlotte, though, and shortly after setting his roots here, he met his wife Veruska, who just so happened to be from Caracas, Venezuela as well.
If meeting your soulmate 2,000 miles from your shared hometown isn’t fate (and we think it is), what happened next certainly was.
Julio’s early experiences in Charlotte included working as a creative director for bilingual newspapers and magazines and as an environmental designer for an architecture firm. He was so passionate about his work that it wasn’t uncommon to find him working on projects late into the night, only to wake up the next day to do it all over again.
With drive and determination, Julio opened the doors to his very own agency in May of 2002: CGR Creative.
Since then, he’s built CGR Creative from the ground up, playing a hands-on role in transforming what started as a traditional marketing startup into the full-service marketing powerhouse we are today.
In honor of our 15 year biz-niversary, here are some fun facts about CGR Creative that you might not already know:
1. Julio was awarded the 2011 Businessman of the Year at the Excelente Business Awards. The very next year, he was honored to receive the 2012 Legacy Award with the Latin American Chamber of Commerce.
CGR Creative with Mayor Jennifer Roberts at a CBRbiz.com event.
2. We can have entire conversations over Skype, email and text using only gifs and memes.
Celebrating Steph’s birthday with a good ol’ surprise ROLLER SKATING party.
3. In 2015, we were recipient of the 2015 SBE of the Year at the Crowns of Enterprise Awards.
A few members of the team at the Crowns of Enterprise Awards.
4. As a small business, we wear many hats. Here are some of the ‘extra’ titles: Fun Friday Event Coordinator, Minute to Win It Champion, and Beer Runner. There’s also the Director of Temperature Control for whomever is sitting closest to change the A/C. 😉
Celebrating St. Patrick’s Day.
5. Our Christmas presents are legendary. For example, our President loves wacky socks. He loves them so much the the entire team pitched in one Christmas to gift him a year’s supply of crazy socks!
That time we wrapped Julio’s desk in wrapping paper for his birthday…
6. One of our team members was ranked 33rd in a national pool competition. Can you guess who?
This is where the magic happens. Also, the meetings. Lots of meetings.
Hayley, Steph and Theresa
7. We also have a competitive skier on the team, as well as a marathon runner!
Cooling off on a Friday with some beers from Sycamore Brewery down the road.
8. We tried to do the cliche agency thing and turned a desk into a ping pong table. It didn’t work, so we settled for Mario Kart on Fridays instead.
But, like, Mario Kart is way better than ping pong anyway.
We have perfected the art of the photo booth.
10. You know it’s a good day when Jamiroquai starts playing throughout the office.
Painting pumpkins for Halloween.
11. You haven’t seen competitive until you’ve seen us playing Minute to Win It on a Friday…seriously, one of our graphic designers fell into a bush last time.
We’re also serious about soccer and will do whatever it takes to catch the big game.
Our Digital Marketing team hard at work.
12. Our intern has been to 36 countries. We’re all jealous.
Cooling off with a froyo bar during one of the hottest days of the year.
13. You’ve never met a more “there for each other” group than this team. Through thick and thin, good times and deadlines, we’re always there to support each other and our clients, no matter what.
At last year’s Christmas party.
14. Whenever it’s time to celebrate something, there’s a bell in the break room that we ring. Rest assured, we’ll be ringing that bell to celebrate 15 years in business!
At the 2016 YP Awards. It was such a fun event.
15. We wouldn’t have lasted 15 minutes much less 15 years in business without the support and help of our team members, families and friends.
One of our designers, Theresa, at the baby shower we threw her.
The infamous Halloween where Steph dressed up as our President and CEO, Julio. Hil-ar-ious.
It has been an amazing 15 years. Thank you to everyone who has believed in CGR Creative–here’s to many more!