Talking Small Biz: His business is a Hub of activity

BILL DECKER, 40, of Media, is president of the Hub, which he co-founded in 2004 to provide specialized meeting space and technology/business-support services.
BILL DECKER, 40, of Media, is president of the Hub, which he co-founded in 2004 to provide specialized meeting space and technology/business-support services.
Posted: February 12, 2013

B  ILL DECKER, 40, of Media, is president of the Hub, which he co-founded in 2004 to provide specialized meeting space and technology/business-support services. The Hub Commerce Square, a 23,000-square-foot meeting-and-event space at 20th and Market streets, opened last May. Already open were the Hub CityView, at 30 S. 17th St., and the Hub Cira Centre, across from the 30th Street station.

Q: How did you come up with the idea for the business?

A: We bet that companies would use less office space in the future. We have a model for outsourced, fully equipped meeting rooms.

Q: What's your sales pitch?

A: The Hub is the un-hotel. Clients want a quality, high-service, hassle-free model. The technology is integrated and built into the rooms. We have our own tech-support staff. There's the quality piece, too. There's a difference between serving food out the back door, and [restaurateur] Stephen Starr's that we serve.

Q: How much do your services cost?

A: We show [clients] an all-inclusive number. If you bring 100 people here, it's going to cost you this much per head, and there's no surprises when you walk out the door. Our range is from $35 to $100 or more per person per day. We also have a flat fee per room. If you want to rent a 1,000-square-foot room for the day, you'd pay about $1,000 to $1,300, plus food and beverage.

Q: Who are your clients?

A: Almost every Fortune 500 company in the Delaware Valley has used the Hub. Comcast is a client. Penn is a big client on the academic, health-care side.

Q: So how big a business is this?

A: It's north of $5 million.

Q: Who are your competitors?

A: We compete with all the big hotel chains, but we also partner with them, because they turn away a lot of meeting business because they want room nights.

Q: How many employees?

A: We have about 50, from hospitality professionals to interns from Temple's hospitality school.

Q: What's the biggest challenge you faced growing the business?

A: We didn't have fat trust funds to inject millions of dollars into the business from Day One. We had some of our own money, and went to friends and family.

Q: The recession was also a turning point, I understand.

A: In late 2008 we received a call from a client who had prebooked $250,000 of business for 2009 and canceled everything. We went to our landlords and said, "We think there's going to be some trouble, and we would like to get on a half-rent situation for the next six to nine months, and we'll repay the balance the following year." We got them to agree.

Q: What's next?

A: Companies are shrinking their office footprints. It's an opportunity for growth. We'd like to be in the top-25 U.S. markets in five years.


On Twitter: @MHinkelman

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