Moms at Work

The art of web design, parenting and going green at YIKES

Tracey, Phine and Mia in the East Girard office of YIKES (photo by Christopher Leaman)

Together for 20 years (and married for nine), Mia and Tracy Levesque, the owners of YIKES, share not only a thriving web design and development business but also an inquisitive six-year-old daughter, Phine (short for Josephine). Over the past year, these techie moms have been putting the finishing touches on their new Fishtown headquarters, which is in the final stages of LEED certification.

“It’s been an adventure,” admits Tracy, who says much of the building on East Girard—which dates to the 1880s—has been outfitted with reclaimed, recycled and eco-friendly materials. The original wood floors have been used for soffits in the new office space, which now houses seven employees who help create online projects for clients including Philadelphia FIGHT and Penn’s OncoLink, and the building is powered with 100 percent renewable energy through Philadelphia’s Energy Co-op. (Tracy even hopes to take the next step someday—rooftop solar panels.)

After school on weekdays, Phine, who just started first grade, can be found playing computer games or doing homework at one of the spare desks. “Like many long-term couples, we have the extrovert and introvert—Tracy recharges socially and I recharge internally,” says Mia, who at the end of the day looks forward to cultivating the community garden—which was featured, along with her recipe for grilled vegetable lasagna, in Martha Stewart Living a few years ago—that they share with neighbors in South Philly. Tracy volunteers with Girls Rock Philly, and her membership in Gay and Lesbian Urban Explorers (GLUE), which scopes out abandoned spaces throughout the city, fuels her blog, Ruin Porn, a fascinating look at urban decay.

“We really try to keep our relationship out of the business,” Mia says. “A lot of people like each other, but they can’t work together. It just works for us.”

YIKES, 204 East Girard Avenue, Philadelphia, 215-238-8801.

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