Building Greensboro’s Future From it’s Past

Greensboro real estate developer and seasoned businessman Andy Zimmerman is known for the saying, “We take old buildings and fix them up.” This quote exemplifies how Zimmerman is revitalizing the Greensboro area and helping local businesses grow.

Zimmerman dropped out of school at the age of 17 because he “was not a traditional learner” and moved to High Point from New Jersey to work in his father’s furniture manufacturing business. Now, he is a prominent figure in Greensboro and is playing a significant role in revamping the downtown area.

After leaving his father’s furniture manufacturing business, Zimmerman’s entrepreneurial spirit and love for the outdoors lead him to help start Wilderness Systems in the late 1980’s, which began as a small business and is now the world’s largest manufacturer of kayaks.After 15 years with Wilderness Systems, Zimmerman sold his interest in that business, began a development company AZ Development, and set his sights on Greensboro. Zimmerman has renovated a multitude of buildings in the downtown area, including the Forge (Greensboro’s Makerspace), and a variety of buildings that are now home to thriving businesses on East Lewis Street, one of which is home to transform GSO (Formerly HQ Greensboro).

HQ Greensboro: Building Community through Business

In August 2015, Zimmerman helped to found HQ Greensboro (Now transform GSO), which is described as “a shared workspace designed to empower, foster, and cultivate companies that produce long-term job growth and positive social impact.” The HQ Greensboro building is equipped with a variety of for-rent areas for businesses of all sizes, including 15 large, private offices, and an area of semi-private cubicles that one or two people can rent as an alternative to traditional office space. They even offer a virtual tour for prospective businesses

HQ Greensboro is a place not only for conducting business, but for networking. People meet each other who otherwise may not ever meet. The goal of HQ Greensboro is to keep the college graduates and younger generations of Greensboro in the area, and help them to build businesses in the area that are primed to thrive and grow.

Though it may seem as if his focus has shifted to solely property development, Zimmerman still has a passion for the outdoors, working with Get:Outdoors in Greensboro, one of the largest paddlesport retailers in North Carolina, as well as Velocity Product Development, which focuses on helping develop products for outdoors companies.

Zimmerman’s impact on the Greensboro area is visible. His work in the city and his passion for entrepreneurship should inspire entrepreneurs throughout the area.

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