North Troy Living Magazine April Cover Story - The Budde Family: Partners in Life

The Budde Family: Partners in Life

With a three-year-old daughter at home and multiple small businesses to tend to, Brandon and Colleen Budde are a busy couple.

Brandon and Colleen Budde (pronounced “Buddy”) met on but had lived less than two miles apart in the small Detroit suburb of Utica for over five years before seeking love online. The pair dated for two years, married in 2018 and recently celebrated their five-year wedding anniversary. A little over two years into their marriage in 2020, they made the plunge and bought into a franchise, Office Evolution.

Having both earned engineering degrees in their early 20s, the Buddes started their professional careers in the traditional 9-to-5 corporate grind but their desire for a less traditional career is one of the things that originally brought the couple together.

Looking back, Brandon and Colleen have both been entrepreneurs their entire adult lives and they foster the willingness to try new things in each other. “Thinking of different ways to start a business or monetize different aspects of our current businesses has always been one of our favorite things to talk about,” they recounted. “We love to laugh together and do other things outside of the business but fostering the sense of adventure and willingness to take a risk on a business with a spouse is just the best.”

But, shortly after acquiring their franchise in January 2020, COVID19 threw a wrench into their plans. “It definitely stretched my patience,” recalls Colleen. “I am an act first, ask questions later type of person but the world shutting down gave us a silver lining of an opportunity to grow our family, save more money and plan for the eventual opening Office Evolution Troy in November 2022.”

Office Evolution Troy is one of the newest additions to the coworking landscape of southeast Michigan, adding to the wave of commercial real estate reinvention that is taking the country by storm. In the post pandemic world of flexible and hybrid employment, companies of all sizes are finding that coworking spaces are a cost-effective alternative to long term leases of commercial office space that their employees just don’t want to use.

By providing flexible office space and shared amenities like Wi-Fi, coffee services, flex day offices and conference rooms, Office Evolution Troy effectively and efficiently serves the business community of Troy and southeast Michigan. Whether someone is a small business owner, remote employee, or just wants an alternative address to receive business mail, Office Evolution Troy is the answer. Colleen says, “It’s my job to help people find solutions suited to their needs as a professional or business owner.”

But Office Evolution Troy is not the first foray into small business or entrepreneurship for the Buddes. While on maternity leave during the height of the pandemic, Colleen began a small crafting side business. “I have been a crafter my entire life,” she says. “Crocheting stuffed animals, knitting socks, or cross-stitching home décor, I love creating and using my hands to make things. Typically, I would donate most of my handmade items like hats and scarves, but eventually it got to the point where I wanted my crafting to pay for itself, so I tried my hand at selling.”

Indeed, for over a decade, Colleen had been dabbling in the e-commerce arena selling old clothes and items on eBay and Facebook Marketplace but it wasn’t until 2020 that Colleen opened a hobby Etsy store. “I usually don’t look to make an enormous profit as it’s a hobby that I would be doing no matter what but it’s always a special point of pride when someone willingly buys one of my handmade items.”

Brandon is no slouch when it comes to entrepreneurship either but, as Colleen tells it, Brandon thinks on a much bigger scale. “Brandon is the planner and the long-term thinker of the two of us. He is so good at the budgeting and saving side that without his dedication, we would not be where we are today.”

At just 24 years old, Brandon bought his first investment property, a 3-unit multifamily in Utica that the Buddes still live in. Brandon says, “You know, I lived at home with my parents for two years after graduating college, saved 75% of my income and was able to afford the 25% down payment. Now we have renters that pay most of the mortgage.”

As the Buddes explain it, Office Evolution Troy is just an expansion of the love for multifamily real estate, “We have 62 private offices, we collect mail for over two hundred small businesses and we have dozens of medium and large businesses that use our spaces for any number of trainings, off site meetings and to host traveling team members that are visiting the Troy area.” Colleen explains.

Colleen left her corporate job in late 2023 to focus on the day-to-day running of their space and is now the full time Business Center Manager (BCM). “In general, this is probably the most excited I have been about my career. I’m 35 and basically starting over,” Colleen exclaimed. “It’s incredibly scary to make the leap into self-employment, but the small business community of Troy has embraced Office Evolution Troy. I could not be more grateful for the opportunity to engage with and serve the Troy community.”


In the BCM role Colleen gets to chat with other entrepreneurs daily. “Most of our small business clients utilize more than one of our services, typically starting with the mailing address. As a woman and small business owner, I know firsthand the importance of not using your home address on any documents when formally starting a small business. LARA (Michigan’s Licensing and Regulatory Affairs department) filings are public record and the articles of incorporation that have a home address listed as the “place of business” is not something that can be easily changed. I have had clients share horror stories of using their home address to set up an LLC and having past customers showing up at their front door.”

“Many small businesses come to us looking for space because they have grown out of their home office. In the post-COVID era, more and more meetings are coming off Zoom and into the real world again. Meeting at Starbucks or the library to discuss a deal or sensitive information with a client is not a good look. Office Evolution Troy offers hourly offices and conference rooms as well as long-term contracts for private offices.”

Office Evolution Troy also serves several large business clients from big box retailers to industry-leading healthcare providers. Colleen explains, “We host business meetings for teams visiting the area or remote employees that want to get together for intermittent brainstorming or offsite meetings.”

“Taking the time to find the right building, the right location, the right city to support our first Office Evolution location was a good call.” says Brandon, “We got very lucky that the building we found required less retrofitting than a typical commercial space and even luckier that the small business community of Troy has been so welcoming.”

Office Evolution Troy has been an active participant in the Troy and other area Chambers of Commerce as well as networking groups across the Macomb, Oakland and Wayne County areas. “Engaging with the small business community has been the best way for us to get our name out there. Meeting business owners, learning about the clients they serve, and the pain points they experience allows us to market and cater our services to the specific needs of our community.” Says Colleen.

While their business is an important part of their lives, they still have plenty of time to enjoy hobbies. The Buddes are proud season ticket holders of the Detroit Red Wings for almost 5 years and love going to games with their daughter. Like any good Michiganders, the Buddes also enjoy weekends up north with the Upper Peninsula of Michigan being one of their favorite destinations. Brandon and Colleen often joke that they need to save for an airplane and pilot’s license so they don’t have to spend so much time in the car. Their favorite up north activities include sampling beer from local breweries, visiting waterfalls, listening for the elk bugling in the fall and kayaking own rivers and on lakes all over the “mitten” state.