CO OP Goes to LA

Seventeen Years In

CO OP just celebrated its seventeenth year in business. I remember the CO OP day one. The Le Pain Quotidien office in Soho. We’ve grown up, as they say.

For most of our time in business, we’ve been an East Coast company. Our work has been based in the major metropolitan areas on the Atlantic: New York, Boston, and Washington DC. It’s been wonderful – lot of great clients and exciting growth.

About three years ago, CO OP began working with clients in other cities across the country – Houston, Chicago, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. The idea was to export our strategic creative thinking into specialized destination branding – to help them grow and maximize their potential. We spent a great deal of time in these cities forming relationships, growing businesses, and increasing value for our clients. And like most New Yorkers, we had to break our habit of seeing NYC as the center of the world. We did.

The Leap

With expansion comes more time with clients and the demands of local needs. We realized it was time to open a new office in a new market, and Los Angeles made the most sense for CO OP. The city is growing, it’s sophisticated and trend-setting, and the market is strong. I see the opportunity on the West Coast, specifically in the real estate and destination sphere. The diversity of people, the innovation in business, and the openness to creating brands that get people excited make this a perfect fit for us. We can apply our thinking, our approach, and our model to really drive difference in this market. 

I was also excited to move here because of the lifestyle change. Connecticut commutes to NYC and Northeastern winters were becoming too much. My family and I needed a real difference in our lives. So we took the chance, packed our stuff and left this July. What a change it’s been! Spending more time together, increasing our health and activity, and the overall California vibe are exciting for the family and me. And we won’t miss the snow (except when we drive there from sunny 70 LA).

Making It Work

With the expansion of our NYC team last year, we’ve built an office that is smart, creative, and can expand on its own. This allowed me to come to LA with a couple of key people to pioneer a new opportunity. In one leap, we’ve been able to make CO OP that much more capable. 

In opening the office, it was important to me to have a curated leadership team I trusted. They had to understand what CO OP does on a day-to-day basis and bring their expertise to the West Coast. Sean Phillips, our SVP of Client Development, came out from New York last spring. He’s been with me for six years and understands the business development process exceptionally well. His hospitality background and client services perspective makes him the ideal person to set up the right relationships. Plus he’s spent the last three years learning and participating in the West Coast market. He gets it. Being able to bring on Ian Lewis Campbell as our Creative Director is really exciting. Ian is a left/right brain hybrid. He’s been with CO OP for over five years and has helped define our processes and thinking as a company. I’m excited to partner with both of them and the LA team that surround us.

I See Cranes Everywhere

Finally, we’ve developed a way of making brands over the last seventeen years that benefits clients on a daily basis. It creates value. We make a difference. The reason we’ve been in business for this long is because our strategic creative process works. It’s the reason ambitious firms in real estate, hospitality, and destination come to us again and again. 

The strength of the California and West Coast market is undeniable. People are excited here. The residential and commercial real estate markets are booming to fill demand. I see cranes and construction everywhere. That translates to real opportunity for brands to differentiate themselves in this city and on this entire coast. I believe what we’ve learned and practiced for seventeen years can be expanded on the “best” coast to help companies grow. We’ll do what we’ve always done, help inspire business and create value, but do it with a West Coast vibe. 

-Jim Moran, Founder and CEO