Atomic Object, a custom software consultancy, was recognized on October 3 as one of the country’s fastest-growing companies headquartered in an economically distressed urban area by the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City (ICIC) and FORTUNE at ICIC’s annual Inner City 100 event in Boston. Each year, ICIC recognizes 100 fast-growing companies that also exemplify opportunity, optimism and transformation in their communities and illuminate the competitive business advantages of being located in the inner city.
Over its 16-year history, Atomic has outgrown its offices twice. Each time, Atomic or its leaders purchased a historic building in Grand Rapids’ Wealthy Theatre Historic District—first at 941 Wealthy St. SE, then 1034 Wealthy St. SE.
Atomic Object CEO and Co-Founder Carl Erickson says it might have been more convenient and less expensive to move to the suburbs, but investing in the Wealthy Street corridor proved central to Atomic’s identity.
“As we started thinking about why our location mattered, we realized that the neighborhood and its businesses had become an intimate part of who we were,” he said. “We don’t have a cafeteria; we have Brick Road Pizza Co. We don’t have our own bar; we have The Meanwhile. We don’t have decent coffee, really; we have The Sparrows.”
Atomic gives back to the neighborhood that’s given them so much. The consultancy has revitalized two historic buildings, its 45 Grand Rapids-based developers and designers frequent local businesses, and its leaders launched SoftwareGR—a nonprofit that fosters the area’s software community.
Atomic also recently hosted “Owning It, Business Structures that Matter” as part of Local First’s Good for Grand Rapids workshop series, which aims to equip Grand Rapids companies with tools and resources to create high-quality jobs, stronger communities and a healthier Great Lakes region.
“Atomic Object is a true example of what it means to use business as a force for good in our local communities,” said Elissa Hillary, President of Local First. “They have demonstrated a commitment to supporting local by creating local jobs, volunteering in the community and shopping at local businesses in their neighborhood. It is great to see Atomic Object recognized as an Inner City 100 and we feel so fortunate to have them in Grand Rapids.”
City of Grand Rapids Mayor Rosalynn Bliss said Atomic’s tenure has added energy and innovation to the neighborhood.
“The future of our city depends on businesses that are deeply rooted in our community,” Bliss said. “Atomic Object is one of these companies, and it is helping to grow our local economy by creating jobs and wealth for our residents.”
Atomic Object leaders accepted the Inner City 100 award on Tuesday night in Boston. Find the full IC100 List published in FORTUNE Oct. 5.