The newest creative business to open in the ViBe District is one-part entrepreneurism and a whole lot of neighborhood love.
Although The Annex quietly opened its doors in January, it is quickly becoming a new go-to hub for the commercial arts in the ViBe district. Owner Megan Hogan shares her studio with a graphic designer, social media manager, and public relations team. They help one another leverage opportunities to become more successful together, while offering their own unique services to small businesses in the community.
“If you want to feel inspired, it’s really important to be around inspiring people. Our work often overlaps, and it’s been a great opportunity to see what’s possible for our own businesses while sharing our successes together,” Hogan says.
After piloting several successful events while working out of 1701 coworking space just a few blocks down the road, Hogan is taking full advantage of having a space to call her own. In addition to working with her marketing clients, The Annex is a place where creative professionals can attend seminars on topics like personal branding and marketing, or even collaborate with her to host their own workshop. This new brick-and-mortar business is one of many to stem from the creative think-tank launch-pad of 1701.
The collaborative nature of the ViBe District, which is almost completely made up of small, locally owned businesses, is what encouraged Hogan to open The Annex. A self-proclaimed superfan of the district, Hogan prides herself on being a supportive neighbor. She’s already partnered with her favorite lunch spot, Java Surf, for her sold-out branding event and looks forward to sharing her other neighborhood culinary favorites during networking events like her monthly business book club and blogging workshops.
It was from being so plugged into the ViBe Creative District through Hogan’s monthly business book club and helping to co-launch the ViBe ARTS + EATS tour with Taste Virginia that Megan discovered the underutilized storage space belonging to Superior Pawn.
Since 2016, it’s becoming a growing trend amongst longer tenured businesses in the neighborhood to dedicate a footprint within their property (in this case, once used as retail storage) to young creatives and entrepreneurs in support of the creative district. Wave Riding Vehicles on 19th Street was the first major business to do so, when they created The Alley from a 4-bay storage garage where Three Ships Coffee, North End Bag Co, Benevolent Design Co, and Igor’s Custom are now located. Superior Pawn is following suit with The Annex and a smaller office space next to it which is scheduled to another new creative business this Summer.
“After being at our location for almost 5 years, we could see the area around us coming to life—the energy and “vibe” was contagious. When I made the decision to lease a small portion of our building, we had many offers and discussions with various businesses, but I liked Megan’s passion and enthusiasm. It was important to have just the right business at our location that would complement our existing operation at Superior Pawn.”
To become a certified creative business by the Virginia Beach Office of Cultural Affairs, The Annex Collaborative Studio had to meet specific criteria identified by the City of Virginia Beach’s ViBe District Incentives program. There are currently five qualifying creative businesses enrolled in and utilizing the City of Virginia Beach incentives.
Beyond hosting a monthly business book club on the 2nd Tuesday and 2nd Thursday of every month, Hogan engages her audience in unique ways to connect in person and build their personal brand. Through workshops, seminars, and pop-ups; creative entrepreneurs can collaborate with one another to fine tune their marketing, gain visibility, and get their ideas out into the world.
“Marketing is all about relationships, and I’m excited to share my platform to help other creative entrepreneurs connect in person while growing together.”
For a full lineup of upcoming events, go to theannexvb.com.