Sandi Ayres is the owner of Fusion Office Business Centers in Barco, NC. The business is scheduled to open November 1, 2020 (depending on current pending build-out permits).
Can you describe your business?
Fusion Office Business Centers is a professional provider of shared-office space - dedicated private fully furnished offices, virtual offices, a boardroom, office equipment, and administrative services. We offer a variety of packages to suit all types of businesses - big and small, local and out-of-the-area. Whether you work out of your home or need a dedicated space to conduct your business - we have you covered.
The best part - flexibility! Fusion Office Business Centers will not lock you in to a long-term lease. Enjoy a flexible office space experience without all of the expenses of traditional office space.
Can you talk about when/why you made the decision to start your own business?
I have been in this business since 2009 - managing a successful center in Virginia. I've always wanted to own my own business. My husband and I have a daughter in high school - and we're very involved with her schooling and extra curricular activities. During quarantine, we realized that now was the time to pull the trigger.
This type of business model is perfect for the times we're in now...offering people an alternative to the traditional office model....this will allow people to continue working more affordably and possibly closer to their home.
Why do you do what you do?
I absolutely love what I do. I love seeing businesses succeed especially in these quirky and challenging times. Opening this business, I know the time and money it takes to start or expand a business. We take some of those financial worries away!
Are you from Currituck or did you relocate here?
I moved to Currituck in 1984 when I was 12. I went to Knapp Middle School and graduated from Currituck County High School in 1991. After high school I naively moved away looking for that big city life. Once I met my husband and had our daughter we quickly realized that we wanted her to have that same love of this County that we have! So we moved back when she was less than a year old. Best decision we ever made - she's had the best teachers and she loves this county as much as we do! This is our home forever. You won't find better people anywhere else!
Why did you choose Currituck County?
It's our home! Currituck is growing - fast - but still maintains that small-town feel that we all love so much. I've been commuting to Virginia to work since 2006. Now that our daughter is in high school, I really wanted to be closer to her and be as involved as I can with all of her activities. It was difficult to do that when I was an hour away (with traffic!).
There's so many small businesses here that I know will benefit from this service. I wanted to be centrally located in the county so that the entire county and surrounding counties could benefit from the services.
I can't go without mentioning the incredible support we received from Currituck Economic & Development, the COA Small Business Center and the Currituck Chamber of Commerce. Starting a new business is stressful, and all of them made me feel so comfortable and motivated. Honestly, finding that kind of support is invaluable and helped make this decision an easy one!
What are your biggest challenges as a business owner?
The biggest challenge so far has been educating business owners and entrepreneurs exactly what it is that we offer. This type of business model is very common in the more metropolitan areas but is new to this area. I believe this concept will work here - there's a need for it.
What are the biggest rewards?
The excitement I see in people when they know there's another way to do business!
What will people get from your business that they won't get anywhere else?
A professional, hands-on, first-class customer service experience for them and their clients! It's a one-stop shop for all types of businesses!
What's one piece of advice you would give to someone starting a business in Currituck County?
Talk to people! I spent months talking to Economic Development, the Small Business Center, the Chamber, business owners, the list goes on. Talk to whoever will listen. Ask lots of questions. They are there to help and offer so many resources to help individuals starting or expanding a business.