Startup Living

SpareFoot-Sponsored Store Offers Clothing — and Dignity — to Austin’s Homeless

By John Egan   April 24, 2015

Street Store

SpareFoot’s Dee Dee Dial with one of the store’s happy shoppers.

On April 22 just outside Central Presbyterian Church in downtown Austin, TX, a homeless man arrived at The Street Store in search of a special pair of pants. The man wanted just the right attire to wear to his mother’s funeral.

SpareFoot employee Kacy Jones helped the man, who’s in his 50s or 60s, pick out a freshly laundered pair of dress pants from Banana Republic. Knowing that he’d be dressed appropriately to honor his mother, the grateful man broke down into tears. He became even more emotional after being able to select another pair of pants, along with a button-down shirt, a polo shirt and an undershirt.

For this grieving man, the sentiment seemed to matter more than the clothes, according to Jones. “I feel that the human connection we provided by being there for him in his time of need is what resonated with him,” Jones said. → Keep Reading

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Tampa Storage Facility Being Reborn as Business Incubator

By Jay MacDonald   December 22, 2014

tampa coworking project

In an industry built around moving in, moving out and moving on, a few visionaries are making room within self-storage facilities to help entrepreneurs move up.

In the spring of 2015, a vacant storage facility in Tampa, FL, will reopen as the 5508 Co-working & Collaboration Exchange, a business incubator for startups operated by the nonprofit Tampa Hillsborough Action Plan (THAP). → Keep Reading

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Yes We Can! SpareFoot Launches Food Drive

By John Egan   November 7, 2014

Albert Hood David Berns

At SpareFoot, we’re fortunate enough to have chefs prepare lunch for us every day. In addition, we’ve got an assortment of snacks to nibble on. We’re a well-fed bunch.

But we wouldn’t have to travel far outside our offices in downtown Austin, TX, to find people who are much less fortunate than we are when it comes to food—people who struggle every day to feed themselves and their families.

As Thanksgiving approaches, we at SpareFoot are expressing thanks for our good fortune by organizing a food drive for the Capital Area Food Bank of Texas. We’re calling it the SpareFoot CANpaign. From Nov. 10 through Nov. 21, we’ll be collecting canned and nonperishable food, and then donating it to the food bank. Or if someone doesn’t want to lug cans of food to work, we’re enabling SpareFeet to make online monetary donations to the food bank. → Keep Reading

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SpareFoot Band Drums Up Enthusiastic Support at Battle of the Tech Bands

By John Egan   October 28, 2014

SpareFoot Band

With only half a dozen practice sessions under their belts, the seven members of the SpareFoot Band recently took the stage at The Mohawk, a music venue in Austin, TX. The bandmates had just 15 minutes to wow the crowd during the Austin Technology Council’s Battle of the Tech Bands. → Keep Reading

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How Improv Can Improve Your Workplace

By John Egan   September 2, 2014

Amy Poehler

When you think of the word “improv,” your mind might flash back to hilarious performances by funny folks like Stephen Colbert, Steve Carell, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler (pictured above). But while improv can tickle your funny bone, it also can improve the more serious business of getting work done.

Three SpareFoot employees—Jake Millward, Tevis Paxton and Nathan Sowell—have tapped into the power of improv. When they’re not at SpareFoot, you might find one or all three of these guys trying to elicit laughs from audiences at improv comedy shows in Austin, TX. In a nutshell, improv performers take the stage without a safety net; their unscripted dialogue is concocted on the fly. Improv is short for improvisation.

Off-stage, improv can boost communication, productivity and other facets of a workplace, SpareFoot’s improv pros say. → Keep Reading

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Four SpareFeet Get to Spring Into Action as Guest Chefs

By John Egan   August 4, 2014

Lily Youn

When Lily Youn arrived the morning of July 30 at SpareFoot’s off-site kitchen in Austin, TX, she was bracing for a Gordon Ramsay-style, hot-under-the-collar, screaming-at-the-top-of-your-lungs nightmare. Instead, she was treated to reggae music playing in the background, small talk from the assembled chefs—and bushels of fun but hard work. Definitely not a scene from Ramsay’s “Hell’s Kitchen.”

Youn (pictured at top), a member of SpareFoot’s Amazing Customer Experience (ACE) Team, was one of four SpareFeet who earned the privilege to work as “chef for a day” at our company after winning an in-house contest. At a June 25 cooking class taught by SpareFoot’s chief chef, Ari Dvorin, four two-member teams were assigned the task of concocting a dish from “mystery” vegetables, protein and up to five other ingredients. Two teams tied to claim victory. → Keep Reading

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The Best Coffee Shops in Austin

By Tony Emerson   April 17, 2014

coffee shops

If you ask a completely random Austinite about his or her favorite coffee shop, you’ll probably get a completely random answer. The cup runneth over with literally hundreds of shops in the city that get the job done. Usually, though, it’s the location, ambiance or availability of power outlets that sets these coffee shops apart. Since to most people coffee is coffee, your average Austin resident will tend to forgive–or at least place less importance on–the coffee itself and pick the nearest place to his or her home or office.

Fortunately for you, the reader, I’m no forgiving reviewer of coffee shops. To me and a small but adamant group of coffee enthusiasts (or snobs, depending on your disposition), some shops perform far above and beyond the norm in Austin.

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Austin Startup Games Preview: Shuffleboard Veteran Todd McClure on Playing Like a Pro

By Anne Wynter   January 24, 2014

Todd McClure

In advance of this year’s Austin Startup Games—which SpareFoot dominated last winter—we’re highlighting people who excel at the competition’s nine “sports.” So that we don’t lose our competitive edge, we’re featuring champs who you won’t see on the SpareFoot team (or any other team) Jan. 25 at the Austin Music Hall. Game on! 

As owner and founder of McClure Tables in Grand Rapids, MI, Todd McClure has been making and selling shuffleboard tables since the 1980s. In fact, you’ve probably spotted his handiwork if you’ve visited Red’s Porch in Austin or one of Austin’s Bikinis locations.

With more than three decades in shuffleboard table manufacturing, it should come as no surprise that McClure knows a thing or two about playing the game. We spoke with him to get his top tips for succeeding in shuffleboard.

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An Ode to Cheesy Goodness: SpareFoot’s Favorite Chile con Queso in Austin

By Jenny Zhang   November 7, 2013

torchy's queso

SpareFeet are a hungry bunch, and we love professing our love of food. After all, we are a startup bred to ox-like strength by a consistent diet of beer, champagne and breakfast tacos. Beer for our brains. Champagne for our hearts. Breakfast tacos for our bones. And the blood that runs through our veins? It’s cheese—chile con queso, to be exact. How else are we going to win the Austin Startup Games again next year?

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How Décor Can Inspire Creativity at Work

By Guest Contributor   November 1, 2013

creativity at work

[ James Anderson, ]

No matter what your job is, creativity in the workplace is a powerful thing. It can boost morale, encourage new ideas and bolster overall performance.

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