In February 2010, Erik Rubadeau and Shannon Pitt were on the way to her hometown of Napanee when they decided to take a detour through Prince Edward County. It changed their life. By August of that year, the couple who are life and business partners, had founded Yeeboo Digital in Wellington.
“We were living in Toronto, wanting to buy a place but unable to afford anything that we were interested in there. We were thinking about getting out of the city, and that day we drove through Wellington, there was snow everywhere, but it was really pretty and calm. We went to an open house viewing that very weekend.” says Shannon.
Erik and Shannon had both worked for a digital agency, and as such, had some freedom to move around. Their clients were all over North America and employer at the time was flexible regarding location, as long as they could be in office once a week. Erik was also teaching at Humber College once a week anyway so they decided they could handle a couple days in the city and then pop back to the County for the rest of the week.
They fell in love with a property on West Lake on the edge of Wellington and moved in May 2010. After a few months of weekly commuting, Erik got an offer to start working with a past client on a new project. “I got a call on a Friday with the offer, but I only had the weekend to make the decision”. After a weekend of looking at all the angles, they decided to go for it. Erik started Yeeboo Digital with one client and after a couple months, once things stabilized, Shannon quit and joined him.
They worked from their home for a few years but as Yeeboo became more established and started getting more clients, it was clear they needed to expand accordingly. They have occupied a variety of spaces around The County, from an office at the Innovation Centre in Picton, to their current office on Main Street in Wellington. “Most recently, when we were trying to find our next office space, we looked at buildings in Picton and Bloomfield, but we decided that being in Wellington was really important to us. By being here we can walk our daughter to daycare on the way to work. We can go home for lunch if we feel like it and it’s easy to see our friends around town. That’s important to us.“ said Shannon.
“We feel a big responsibility as employers, but it also feels like a privilege. We know that providing full-time careers in The County will have a positive impact on our community. Our staff are our friends, and their families matter to us”.
“So far we haven’t used our location in The County as a selling point. We haven’t really advertised jobs outside The County, we’ve just used Kijiji, Facebook and word of mouth. But as we grow I think being in The County will be a valuable selling point to acquire new talent.” Says Erik. “People want to live in places like Wellington and Prince Edward County, but they need a job to be able to do that. It’s also exciting for us to be able to offer creative agency work in web design, web development and digital production as possible career tracks for kids growing up in The County”.
The growing team of eight at Yeeboo is local, or has become so while working for Yeeboo. It’s like serendipity, we always seem to find the right person at the right time.” says Erik. Yeeboo has two team members in Toronto, but they are in The County frequently. “I’d love to get two of our developers in Toronto to come out here. They’re thinking about it. They’ve got a long-term plan.” Erik says.
WHAT DO THEY DO?
Yeeboo is a digital agency, with a primary focus in marketing, fundraising and technology. They build websites and run online fundraising and marketing programs for large non-profit organizations, where fundraising is the priority. “We help organizations use technology, the internet, and mobile, to communicate with their audiences, to connect with new audiences, and to raise money online” says Erik. A large component of their work is designing and implementing the technology used for fundraising events like Paws for a Cause (for BC SPCA) where the event participants will have personal fundraising pages they can use to communicate with friends to raise money.
“Our first client was Covenant House International in New York, an amazing organization that runs shelters for homeless youth across North America. We helped them design and grow a program called The Sleep Out that is active in Toronto and Vancouver and 16 other cities across the United States. The first year, five years ago, we raised $400,000. This year we will raise over $25 million. It’s amazing to be a part of something so successful.” says Erik.
“We have visited some of their shelters, recently one in New Jersey. It was really eye-opening. It’s easy to get lost behind your computer screen, but when you go out and see the projects you are working for, projects you are supporting, it’s incredible and very moving.”
While they have a large variety of clients across North America, local community also matters at Yeeboo. They have worked with Linda Downey and Wellington Food Bank and the team at the Baxter Arts Centre on web projects, donating their expertise and time to help local causes. “Ideally would like to do one local project a year” says Shannon.
The team also gets involved personally, engaging and giving back to the community. Shannon was on the board of Baxter Arts Centre. Justine Pitcher, one of Yeeboo’s Digital Producers, has also volunteered for them. Nikki Crenna, another Digital Producer, co-founded the Friendly Feminists group in The County. Erik manages all of the communications for Wellington Business Association.
“We’re proud to be part of the growth happening in our community. With the new high speed internet access, Wellington is now an even better place for us to continue to grow our business and live in a community we love” says Erik.
For startups or businesses looking to expand or re-locate to The County, you can fill out this Business Inquiry Questionnaire, and the Community Development Department will respond in 48 hours.