My Space

Looking under Fresh Green Light's Rye hood.



Photo by Ken Stabile

When Steve Mochel and his wife, Laura Shuler, founded Fresh Green Light (freshgreenlight.com), a state-of-the-art driving school in Rye last year, they wanted their office to be high-tech yet eco-friendly, with recyclable materials used in its construction. “Our one-line pitch for Fresh Green Light is ‘Apple Store meets drivers’ ed,’” says Mochel. “We wanted the space to be very light, fresh, white, and open.” Here, they drive us around their office.

The sliding glass doors keep the “entire place light and open,” Shuler says.

The flooring is epoxy, often used for garages, giving the office a “bit of a garage-ish, industrial feel,” Shuler says.

Natural light, lots of it, filters through the eight windows. “It’s one of the reasons we love the space,” Mochel says. “There’s so much natural light—as a result, the office does not consume a lot of energy.

“We opted for furnishings that are sleek and modern,” Mochel says, “because we wanted it to be someplace teenagers would feel comfortable and enjoy being in. We have four kids of our own, so we used them as our focus group.”

“This is my Chumby,” says Mochel, referring to his compact Wi-Fi device. “It basically has a bunch of widgets on it that change every ten seconds, like the latest weather forecast, a clock, and a live webcam at Abbey Road. It’s all very random.”

“I bought this for Laura—this is an exact replica of her Mini,” Mochel says.

This is another one of my gadgets,” Mochel says. “It’s actually a charging station for our BlackBerry. We thought it helped to bring some color to our office, in keeping with our green theme. And you don’t have to water it!”

“I love to cut stuff out—this is where Laura and I went on our honeymoon, in St. Barts. That’s the villa we stayed at, which someday we’ll go back to, hopefully.”

“This is a touch-activated LED desk lamp,” Mochel says. "They look really cool; unfortunately, they’re not very bright.”

“That’s a picture of our four kids—Cooper, Ava, Harry, and Jack. The photo is resting on our Internet radio. It connects to our Wi-Fi, and can play any station that broadcasts over the Internet. We used Pandora to create our own channel, so we have the ‘Fresh Green Light Channel’ that plays while we’re in here.”“

My desk is so boring in comparison,” Shuler says. “Other than my moisturizer, I don’t have a lot of stuff. I’m more practical than Steve, so I have things that actually help, like our schedule.”

“The dogs like to come in and hang out and play—and nap,” says Shuler. “We want the office to be more casual and inviting,” Mochel adds. “Besides, everyone here is a dog lover.”

“This is where I keep the dogs' bones and toys—and believe me, they know it," says Mochel. “One of the benefits of owning your own business is being able to be in control of your own space. We can bring our dogs to work, and have the kids stop by. It’s great to have that freedom.”

“This is our experience chart,” Shuler says. “We basically charted out our customers’ experience, from the moment that they come in contact with us on the Web, and every touch point that follows in that experience—to make sure that we’re delivering on our brand.” Adds Mochel: “In any service business, the experience you have is your brand. You can advertise all you want, but the minute the customer has a bad experience, you’re done.”

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