The future has come to Beverly, and you can find it in the old taxi dispatch just around the corner from Cityside Diner.
The renovated street-level office on Knowlton Street now houses Latitude Labs, the newest venture for parent company Latitude, a global media and technology research company that has grown from a single employee when it began in 2001 to 16 and serves clients such as ESPN, The New York Times, BBC and Nickelodeon. Founded by CEO Steve Mushkin from a computer in the Beverly Public Library, Latitude’s headquarters now consists of four offices above the diner on Cabot Street. Its location in downtown Beverly is as important to Mushkin as the company’s global reach.
“When I moved to the area in 1995, I immediately recognized that Beverly had an interesting combination of intelligence, creativity and character, which I loved,” said Mushkin, who lives with his wife and two sons in Hamilton and in southern France. “Beverly’s got a great vibe, a diversity of people, food and history, but I also like how accessible it is for people coming from Boston or Cambridge.”
Mushkin, who worked in research management for Time Warner before founding Latitude, was enamored early on with the Internet, realizing both its benefits in exploring the world but also its physical limitations. That fascination led him first to the Beverly Public Library in 2000, where he literally launched his business with what are now considered archaic versions of Internet access. He used several reference books from the shelves there to “get my head around what this business could be,” and even named his company based on the principles in one of those books.
He’d long been interested in maps, but he also recognized that Latitude’s double meaning would allow employees the freedom they’d need to explore new technological terrain. Charmed by Beverly’s downtown, four months later, he saw the “For Lease” sign in the window above the diner on Cabot Street and has built Latitude from there ever since.