The Labor Party is an ongoing feature highlighting cool office spaces that strive to keep Louisville weird, competitive and productive.
Company Name: Bandy Carroll Hellige
Description: “Advertising, Public Relations, Digital & Interactive, Social, Qualitative Research.”
History: Established in 1989 by partners Susan Bandy, Mark Carroll and Tim Hellige, the advertising and public relations agency is a one-stop shop for clients looking for general PR services to state-of-the-art video animation. Currently they employ a workforce of 60 divided among offices in Louisville and Indianapolis, and their more than 25 clients include big hitters like McDonald’s of Kentuckiana, Four Roses Bourbon, Falls City Beer, KentuckyOne Health, the Louisville Zoo, Forecastle Festival, and more.
Location: 307 W. Muhammad Ali Blvd.
What we found:
The Bandy Carroll logo boldly features each of the three primary colors, and splashes of these colors are seen throughout the agency’s swanky downtown office space. Partner Matt Kamer met me at the front desk and led me through a maze of open offices and conference rooms where the 42 employees create ideas, concepts and brands for their many clients.
It was nearing 4 p.m. on a Friday afternoon, and many offices had already been abandoned. I inquired if they had early dismissal, and Kamer just smiled and guided me to a staircase that descended to a basement. As I made my way down, it became clear — the employees hadn’t left for the day, they just made their way to the company’s weekly happy hour in the basement lounge.
The large, warehouse-like feel of the finished room reminded me of grade-school recess. The concrete floors and exposed brick walls gave it the feel of a hip, urban loft, and the basketball hoop, flat-screen TVs and pool table conjured up a scene from “Big” in my mind — sans the flat piano pad and fortune-teller machine.
Surprisingly, however, most employees were gathered around a small kitchen space that boasted a full-sized refrigerator or two, a sink, countertop and a small island bar. As Kamer pulled open the refrigerator door, I’m pretty sure I heard angels sing as the sight of at least 50 beers came into focus.
“What’ll you have?” he asked as I quickly scanned the brands.
“Um, err, well, I guess I’ll have that Falls City Hipster Repellent,” I said.
And just as soon as he pried off my bottle cap, we were joined by three more men carrying big smiles and another case of Falls City Beer. It turns out these men were actually from Falls City Beer, one of Bandy Carroll’s clients, and they tend to pop in from time to time beering gifts, so to speak.
One of the guys was Cezary Wlodarczyk, the new CEO of the local beer company, and he was as gracious as he was humble. And now we had a party.
Between Wlodarczyk’s stories of brewing and pushing the envelope when it comes to craft beer production, and the Bandy Carroll employees detailing their Friday afternoon Spotify jam sessions — which all must have a theme — I felt honored to be in the right place at the right time.
As I neared the end of my Hipster Repellent, I heard Wlodarczyk ask for a nip of bourbon. And not two minutes later, Tim Hellige showed up wielding a bottle of Four Roses Small Batch — also a BCH client.
If I was to make it to my next appointment, I knew I had to leave before the bourbon’s seal was broken. As I climbed the staircase leaving the fun behind, Kamer and Hellige extended an open invite to return any given Friday.
After witnessing the beer fridge of dreams, I just may take them up on that.
Here’s a look at more scenes from Bandy Carroll Hellige: