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What’s with that name, Room 118, anyway?

Hi. I’m Justin. Back in 2019 my good friends Casey and Jose helped me found Room 118. As we went through our own branding process to define the agency that you now find yourself reading about, we asked ourselves, what did we want to be called?

Room 118 was an actual room in a hotel that my grandfather, Roy Strong, built with his own hands (along with help from my father and my three uncles) back in 1968 in the small town of Provo, Utah. And I have very fond memories of that room.

This hotel was the literal product of Roy’s blood, sweat and tears and his sheer force of will. My grandfather grew up in the depression, had no advanced education and didn’t enjoy any opportunities, except those that he himself created. He could quote entire verses of Omar Khayyam and the stories of his exploits as a practical engineer were mythical (U.S. Steel had a natural gas leak at a massive steelworks plant  that could have leveled a city, and Roy was the man they called in to make it all better). While Roy was given no advantages in life, he made many for himself and his family. And he never cut corners. Never. A job was either done well (which meant perfection), or it wasn’t done.

When the hotel, the Best Western Rome Inn was built, one of the rooms in the hotel was converted to a maintenance and workshop area. It was a place where we would go to fix things that were broken, and in general, keep the hotel running to Roy’s satisfaction.

The numbers on the door of that room were “118”.

It’s kind of a big leap–we’re a digital agency focused on doing the best marketing work possible. Roy molded and shaped mountains of concrete and steel. But the values, I think, are relevant.

I shared this story with Casey and Jose and they were enthusiastic about making it our brand’s name. It stood for many of the same values that we wanted to instill in the agency: blood, sweat and tears. And a job done well–never simply good enough, but instead the kind of work that makes you smile inwardly with quiet pride, before casually moving on to the next job.

I still get questions about this name from clients from time to time. And it’s honestly hard to explain it on the fly without getting a bit sappy. It just means that much to me. I don’t know that it’ll ever fully measure up to the example of Roy. But damned if we aren’t trying, every day. And we hope our clients see that in our work.

Justin Strong

Founder, CEO & Grandson of Roy