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Week 5: Larkin Garbee

Dear Batter Up friends,

Meet Larkin Garbee. Larkin is one of those rare finds that is always on the prowl for the next project. After graduating from college in 2005, she went to work at James River Tile doing part-time accounting. Not long after she started working there, she just decided to buy the company. So, there she was, in her early 20′s and she owned a construction company. Seeing an opportunity to make her show room more than just a show room, she bought some office furniture and a few other accoutrements, and opened 804RVA—a co-working studio for freelancers and independent business owners. Of course, that wasn’t nearly enough to fill her day, so she has added quite a few other tasks to her resume. Here’s a list of things she has done/is doing. Buckle your seat belts.

In 2012 Larkin brought the first Startup Weekend to RVA as the event’s lead organizer. In case you’re not familiar with what Startup Weekend is, they happen all over the world and create an opportunity for people to come together over the course of one weekend and get new businesses and/or project ideas off the ground. RVA just had our second weekend and, while not the lead organizer this time around, Larkin played another big role.

Larkin is also the meet-up queen of Richmond. She has hosted over 170 tech-related meet ups in the last 18 months in her 804RVA space and founded WordPress Wednesdays. She also founded another company called Idea Engine which is a “website in a day” model for small businesses seeking brochure type websites.

And I’m not finished. Her most recent venture is City Scrapbook—think Pinterest but specifically for your city—that is currently in beta testing. The purpose is to help people collect and organize their favorite places and events happening around them. This little idea landed her as a semi-finalist in the i.e. competition.

And there’s more. Larkin was recently honored as a CIT Gap 50 award winner, which means she was recognized by peer entrepreneurs as most likely to build Virginia’s next generation life science, technology, and energy companies. And, speaking of energy (boy does she have some!) she is currently one of the lead people in developing The Power Plant, a multi-million dollar project that will encourage innovation in Virginia.

Did I mention that she’s only 30 years old? I anticipate we will be seeing a lot more from this feisty chick in the coming years. Just talking about her makes me want to go take a nap.

I set a few ground rules when I started this project and one of them was that I would try not to batter people that I knew personally. I didn’t want this to turn into the “Ryn gives her friends cake” project. However, there are a few exceptions to that rule and Larkin is one of them. I’ve known Larkin for a little over a year and I’m a member of the 804RVA space. Not only is she doing amazing things for RVA, but she’s a damn nice person. I had set up a fake meeting with her so that I could make sure she was going to be in the office on Friday and within seconds of contacting her, she was offering up website help and suggestions for Batter Up. I, of course, was cracking up on the inside. She had no idea it wasn’t really a meeting and that she was the one getting battered.

Larkin had actually been on my list for next week. I had hoped to batter the people at First Capital Bank to acknowledge the kick-off to their annual Stuff the Bus program where they gather school supplies for kids in need. Unfortunately they were less than receptive to Batter Up when I reached out to coordinate a delivery. Despite being shunned, I still want to give acknowledgement to the program because it’s a wonderful thing that they do. Please give if you can.

And now for the cake. This week was a Sour Cream Cocoa Pecan Coffee Cake. The recipe has been in my family for about 40 years and is usually a staple at the holidays. I’ve been in the kitchen and watched my mom make this cake a hundred times so I figured it would be smooth sailing. I figured wrong. I have no idea how it tasted because I had to rush off to a dentist appointment and couldn’t stay to eat a piece with Larkin, but it didn’t look right. Of course, even if it was inedible, Larkin would never tell me. She’s just that kind of girl.