5 Office Updates To Keep Your Company Relevant

5 Office Updates To Keep Your Company Relevant

Let’s be real, half the reason people are so eager to work for big name companies is because their office spaces are out of this world cool. People love the idea of working in offices that feel unique and special. The crazy thing is, you don’t need to be an iconic brand like Google to have a millennial-friendly office space. Check out these updates you can make to wow current and potential employees.  

Biophilic Design

Humans inherently want to connect with the natural world, or at least that’s the theory behind biophilic design. This practice aims to incorporate nature into everyday environments such as an office. Introducing natural elements has been shown to aid in health, productivity and well-being. Not to mention, being surrounded by nature promotes relaxation. Biophilic design can easily be incorporated into your office environment with unique features such as a living walls made of moss or vegetation, a water feature or even small indoor trees. Bring the outside in and give your office space a fresh, peaceful atmosphere.

Lots of Glass

Glass is the perfect go-to building material. It allows natural light pour in, and it looks sleek and modern. We aren’t just talking about big glass windows either. Glass walls on the interior of offices can have a huge impact on the feeling of the space. Interior glass barriers allow offices to build walls for separate spaces and conference rooms that are sound proof, but don’t hinder the natural light from reaching the deep interior of your space. No more working under the oppressive overhead lighting inside a cubicle cave. With glass walls, everyone gets just as much natural light as the person with the corner office. Not to mention, since glass is see-through, it will feel like an open office environment and help contribute to increased collaboration.

Old Meets New Design

Extremely modern designs can often feel cold, but if the design is too traditional, the space can feel dated. The solution, of course, is combining the two. Utilize old-world craftsmanship with modern accents. Combining clean-looking materials like metal and glass with old-style textured wood and brick makes for a striking space. Using weathered textures with modern furniture and equipment will make the space feel warm and cozy while still appearing high-tech. This aesthetic will make your employees feel comfortable but still capable of being productive.

Integration of Technology

Design, above all, should be functional. When you are designing an office you should be taking into account the needs of the people who utilize it everyday. For today’s employee that need is increased access to the latest technology, which means technology should be integrated into the design. Consider including extra power outlets so that people can wander away from their desks and work on their laptops around the office. You could also install smart TVs in huddle rooms or conference rooms that are hooked up to video cameras so that video calling can be done easily. Make your employees lives easier and provide them with a space that is designed with the technology they use in mind.

 

Unusual Common Spaces

A pool table, TV, video games, comfy couches, and dining tables may seem like an odd choice for an office, but they can actually increase productivity. Having a common area where people can have fun, eat, and chat casually with coworkers really increases morale. Not only will your employees develop camaraderie but they’ll also be able to de-stress without leaving the office. If you really want to kick it up a notch you can even include a wine and beer area for when happy hour rolls around. This transforms the office from a place people dread entering into a place associated with fun.

 

These office space updates can completely change the culture of your office, taking it from drab and oppressive to exciting and dynamic. The only downside to implementing these changes are all the new job applications you’ll have to sort through. If you think it is time to update your office, get in touch to set up a consultation.

Upgrade Your Childcare Facility: Why Home-like Finishes are Trending

Warm wood finishes, family style kitchens, indoor/ outdoor
play areas, musical spaces, everything custom, and not a single plastic flimsy
chair in sight. More childcare facilities are opting for home-like custom
finishes in their buildings, and the reasons are clear: creating a warm and
inviting environment that looks and feels like home gives children the
opportunity to flourish.

Because today’s parents have much more specific expectations for childcare centers than generations past, it’s important to understand what’s going to attract the parents in your community to not just love your center, but become raving supporters of your business in the community. Below, we’ll help you build out your own vision by walking you through the shifting trends in parent expectations for the centers their children attend, and what that looks like for many of our clients.

Natural wood and home like elements make kids comfortable at their daycare center

Put Parents at Ease

Let’s be honest, every parent has a mini-heart attack when
they first drop their child off at a childcare facility. They picture their
child crying in a dark room, unable to make friends, missing mom and dad like
crazy. Of course, all these fears quickly melt away when your facility looks
and feels more like their own home than a commercial center. Immediately, the
quality craftsmanship and high-end soft goods will make them feel more at home.

Layer in the cute wooden tables and chairs, thoughtfully
placed art and music facilities for organic, creative play, and a natural-light
filled rooms, and you have the makings of a center that today’s parents rave
about.

Safety

There is nothing more important than creating a safe
environment where children can learn and grow – and it’s a huge selling point
for the parents who frequent your facility. That is why it is so important to
have finishes made of natural materials like wood, bamboo and cotton: materials
that don’t contain potentially harmful chemicals.

We’ve also been known to help our clients integrate
top-of-the-line building safety features, like keyless access, security doors,
and more, bringing a layer of secure technology that your customers have become
more likely to expect when they enter your center.

Comfort

Being away from home can be scary for kids, and if your
facility looks foreign and feels cold, they’re less likely to relax enough to
fully benefit from all of the educational activities you have to offer. Bringing
those touches of home makes both the parents and the children feel more
comfortable, and also makes the home-to-school transition easier, as the
environment feels more familiar and stable.

Overall, incorporating a lot of natural light as opposed to fluorescent lighting, earthy tones in place of primary colors, wooden furnishings instead of plastic, and a thoughtfully laid out facility that makes parents feel like they’re leaving their child at a private school instead of a daycare are all concepts that we’re seeing many requests for. And the results are delightful.

Stylish entryway to childcare facility

Upgrade Your Facility

Adding a touch of home to your building can be the difference that takes your business from mediocre to thriving. It’s also the best way to not just offer a service to the community you serve, but become a staple for parents that want the best for their kiddos. If you’re wondering what an upgrade to your facility could look like, let’s chat! We’d love to help you create – and then step into – your vision.

Supporting the Fight Against Homelessness as a Beacon Interfaith Partner

Minnesota winters are brutal. In the middle of January and February, walking outside can feel like a sucker punch to the gut. Yet, for most of us, there is a nice warm home waiting at the end of the day. Unfortunately, not everyone shares that luxury, which is one of the reasons we’ve stepped into the ring with Beacon Interfaith Housing Collaborative to combat the local fight against homelessness.

As you’ve likely seen on the news, this local crisis has become an epidemic, leaving men, women, and children on the street, facing freezing temperatures and dangerous conditions. As housing costs continue to rise and less affordable housing options are available to the metro at large, the problem can’t be solved without community-driven solutions. Beacon Interfaith Housing Collaborative is making strides to fix this problem in an impactful way that brings together local people of faith.

Through the collaborative effort of multiple congregations, they have provided 500 stable homes, 60% of which have onsite services available to help people with the transition from homelessness. They have also supplied 15,000 nights of shelter for families through their Families Moving Forward program. Moreover, they are actively advocating for policy change to help improve funding for accessible housing.

Their belief in providing stable homes not only to improves lives, but to also strengthen the community is one that resonates with the SullivanDay team. As a company, we support the great work this organization is doing both monetarily and by volunteering. We believe in the fight for affordable housing for the most vulnerable in our community, but it’s something that we can only win when we work together as people, as businesses, and as a society.

If you feel called to contribute to this cause, you can donate here, become a volunteer, or even become an advocate for affordable housing. If you are interested in seeing first hand the work this organization is doing, they welcome people to join one of their tours of their properties, program centers, or housing congregations. We have been inspired by their work, and we hope you will join us in supporting the mission of Beacon Interfaith Housing Collaborative.

The Perfect Formula for Fun The Perfect Formula for Fun – “The Fun Lab”

This article was written by our own Paula Klimek, and originally published in the MSCA March 2019 Newsletter.

WHAT IS NEWLY OPENED IN BLAINE, IN A REPURPOSED BIG BOX STORE (GANDER MOUNTAIN) AND A “HECK” OF A LOT OF FUN FOR BOTH KIDS AND ADULTS??? IT’S THE FUN LAB!!!

The Fun Lab is the brainchild of Jim and Marilyn Webber, who envisioned this enterprise of fun about five years ago. Located in the old Gander Mountain building right off of Central Avenue/Highway 65, with 22,000 square feet of fun, it opened for business in December 2018.

(On a personal side note, I have been to The Fun Lab four times already, and am planning my next visit. Last weekend, I brought my husband Robin and he was completely blown away at how much fun it was!)

Following are some “Fun” things to know about The Fun Lab from key players on the project, including owners Jim and Marilyn Webber; General Contractor, Steve Day; and Job Superintendent, Drew Belsaas.

—Jim & Marilyn Webber, Owners, The Fun Lab

HOW LONG WAS THIS UNIQUE IDEA IN THE MAKING?

We started coming up with ideas about five years ago and really got serious about three years ago. We decided to have a feasibility study created for the Blaine area, just to make sure our idea would work. What makes us unique is our customer service, our wide range of best attractions (all in one place) and a full restaurant that is aimed at ALL guests from the “littles” to the grandparents and offering limitless fun and great memories! We also have party rooms available for birthday parties complete with magic trick performers that are also available for Team-building Corporate Events.

TELL US ABOUT HOW YOU FOUND AND CHOSE THE LOCATION.

Our feasibility study used 109th and Hwy 65 as a center point of Blaine. We looked at several locations in and near Blaine, but many were eliminated due to size, lease rate, or ceiling height. We found one company that was going to do a build to suit where they build the building and lease it to us, but at the last moment, they changed their mind. Luckily, the Gander Mountain location became available late 2017. Our broker set up a meeting with the landlord, and after several meetings, we agreed upon a lease. We feel that the old Gander Mountain location is a good location with exposure on Hwy 65 and being close to the National Sports Center.

“REPURPOSING” OF BIG BOX STORES IS IMPORTANT IN THIS DAY AND AGE, THE FUN LAB IS A GREAT EXAMPLE OF REPURPOSING A BIG BOX STORE. I REACHED OUT TO ANNA BLAKE OF COLLIERS BROKERAGE SERVICES FOR HER PERSPECTIVE

There have been a handful of factors that have led to the demise of many big box retailers, with omnichannel, consumer preferences, and overdevelopment of storefronts leading the pack, in my opinion. Many retailers analyze consumer preferences through general shopping desires; gone are the days of the massive department stores satisfying everyone’s shopping needs and desires.

Retailers are now working toward finding a balance with their brick and mortar locations since the rise of the internet. Retail shopping is at everyone’s fingertips, so shopping has become an experience for consumers—not just a chore or errand. Consumers will always want a place to see, touch, and feel the products in real life.

Retailers that struggle to evolve with consumer preferences are closing, creating big box vacancies in the market and, thus, negatively impacting vacancy rates. Big-box repurposing has created opportunities for landlords with well-positioned assets to refresh and revitalize what may have been a tired and underutilized shopping center. Innovative, new-to-market concepts in the former big-box spaces has lowered the vacancy rates, increased portfolio value for landlords, and helped to stimulate the economy.

HOW MANY ATTRACTIONS ARE THERE IN THE FUN LAB? AND WHAT WAS THE SELECTION PROCESS FOR THE ATTRACTIONS? HOW DID YOU DECIDE WHICH ATTRACTIONS TO BUILD AND TO PURCHASE AND INSTALL?

We have 8 attractions, some you may have seen before like, Laser Tag, Spin Zone Bumper Cars, Mini Bowling, and an Elevated Ropes Course, but each has their own spin, whether it’s the Black Panther themed laser tag or being able to watch people play arcade games from the rope course! The other four offer a unique experience for our guests, let us explain!

XD DARK RIDE – When you play the Dark Ride, imagine playing a call of duty type game with seven other friends! Hold on tight because you get the full 3D experience with the chairs moving along with the ride as well. Have fun shooting your choice of zombies and/or werewolves or even Mad Max along with other selections available. This ride will keep you on the edge of your seat…….Literally!!

HOLOGATE VIRTUAL REALITY – This is an awesome virtual reality experience. This is a game for all ages, you can chose from a selection of games ranging from a dance revolution like game to shooting robots, there is something for everyone!

LASER MAZE – If you’ve ever wondered how the robbers in movies get through those lasers in the bank vaults, well you are in luck! The laser maze allows you to try and avoid lasers that crisscross throughout the room. Try making it to the other side without hitting the laser. If sounding the alarms is more your speed, you may like beam breaker, which allows you to run through the space breaking as many laser beams as possible in a minute!

BALLOCITY – If you want to just sit back and let the kids run, ballocity is the spot to be. Let your kids run around on this 3-level jungle gym. Shoot foam balls out of cannons at each other and go down multiple slides. They can do all this while you sit back and have a snack from the cafe and enjoy a cold beverage. Whether it be pop, beer or wine!!!

We also have about 45 arcade games. Our consultant was very helpful in deciding which attractions we should have in our facility. We went to several conventions and saw the attractions first hand. From there, we picked our favorites and then did a market analysis of which attractions might do well in our area. We wanted something unique and fun for the entire family.

Our consultant, Jerry Merola of AEM, has many connections in the family entertainment business, and he helped us narrow down which vendors would be the best to work with and have the best equipment. Some attractions, like in Laser Tag, we actually used 3 different vendors: one for the steel mezzanine, one for the arena/ painting, and one for the laser tag vests.

WHAT WOULD YOU SAY WAS THE MOST CHALLENGING ASPECT OF THE PROJECT AND HOW DID YOU OVERCOME IT?

Finding a location and a landlord that would work with us was the toughest, since the family entertainment center business is new to us. Financing was probably the second hardest to come up with for the same reason as above. Lastly, the red tape of getting proper permits/licenses.

DO YOU HAPPEN TO HAVE A PERSONAL FAVORITE ATTRACTION? IF SO, WHICH ONE.

Our favorite attractions would be the Trio Tech XD Dark Ride and the Hologate virtual reality. These attractions offer a 3-D experience where you feel like you are really in whatever visually is on the screen. We’ve had people fall over, crouch down & simulate all kinds of actions, again, because the visual experience is so compelling!

—Steve Day, Owner, Sullivan Day Construction, General Contractor for The Fun Lab

WITH LOTS OF DEVELOPMENT HAPPENING IN BLAINE, TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT THE PERMITTING PROCESS FOR THIS PROJECT, WITH ALL OF THE MISCELLANEOUS ATTRACTIONS AND MOVING PARTS.

Blaine is busy, and the project was complicated, so the process took a long time. The project had many different facets to it, the demising of a larger building into separate uses, a new tenant that included a restaurant/kitchen, plus all of the unique attractions. The laser tag arena has a fully self-supporting structural steel mezzanine that allows for play on two levels that had a separate engineer, review, and permit process. The fire life/safety requirements for this type of use are also very stringent and complicated.

WHAT WOULD YOU SAY WAS THE MOST CHALLENGING ASPECT OF THE PROJECT AND HOW DID YOU OVERCOME IT?

Going in I thought that the coordination of about a dozen separate attraction and systems vendors, hired by our client, was going to be a nightmare. We had a very small window of time to get them in to do their work, and all of them had different requirements that needed to be met for them to be able to do their work. It took a massive amount of communication and scheduling throughout, but it ended up not being as much trouble as feared. Our field superintendent and client had a lot to do with that success.

WITH SO MANY ATTRACTIONS TO CHOOSE FROM, DO YOU HAVE A PERSONAL FAVORITE?

I haven’t tried them all yet, but I would say the Dark Ride is my favorite. I can’t believe the technology that delivers such a cool interactive experience can be found somewhere like this that doesn’t have “Disney” in its name.

—Job Superintendent Drew Belsaas (Sullivan Day)

WAS THERE ONE ATTRACTION THAT PROVED TO BE MORE HANDS-ON THAN THE OTHERS? IF YES, TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT THAT.

Even though I really didn’t have to get too involved with install of attractions, I would say laser tag was the most crucial. I had to make sure at least a dozen times that the measurements of the space it was going into would work for the steel structure that was put in by Creative Works.

TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT THE ENORMOUS PIZZA OVEN IN THE RESTAURANT.

It’s BEAUTIFUL!!! It’s a brick rotating oven that can cook up to 10 pizzas at a time, depending on the size of the pizza. It has ceramic tile on the outer shell of the dome that just pops when you look into the kitchen. In addition to pizza, the menu ranges from yummy cheese curds, delicious quesadillas, salads, and Sides to a Kid’s Menu. There is also wine and a great selection of bottled beer and on tap! There, literally is something for everyone!

WHAT WAS YOUR PERSONAL FAVORITE ATTRACTION TO WORK ON AND WHY?

I would have to say laser tag! I have never seen anything so detail oriented. The air brush paint and the two levels make it quite the fun area to play in. I also want to note that I think when people hear about or see posts about the Fun Lab, they probably think it’s a place just for kids. Well you are in for a surprise! Not only do they have fun arcade games, but the attraction and rides they have also fit adults as well. I couldn’t believe how much it made me feel like a kid again. Sometimes as parents, that’s what we need. That we can go there with our family, and instead of just watching our kids run around, we can run around with them and have a blast as well, and enjoy an ice cold beer along the way.

Commercial Construction in Winter: What it Takes to Buil in the Cold

Why would you build a building in the middle of winter?

We know, we know. At first thought, it sounds a little crazy to be building a project from the ground up in the middle of the coldest part of the country at the coldest time of year. But some of our clients need to be in their space by a specific timeframe, and the financial incentives or penalties for NOT being in their space justify the added cost of winter construction. Here’s how we make those projects happen!

Timelines Are Key

Getting a site ready for a winter build starts with a meticulous timeline and a team that can keep the project ON schedule. This is the critical piece to completing each project the right way, and how we minimize additional costs due to weather complications. 

For example, we usually install underground site utilities before the snow flies. Any utilities like sanitary and storm water lines need to go pretty deep in the ground. Once the ground is deeply frozen, this work has to wait until spring – which means the whole project will be on hold until the ground thaws. A well-managed timeline from beginning to end is the key to success!

We Bring the Heat

Nearly every building has a need for concrete. From foundation work to sidewalks to monument signs, it’s one of the essentials to a ground-up build. We typically try to complete concrete work before the heart of winter hits, but occasionally that doesn’t happen.

To properly cure, concrete has specific temperature requirements. In colder temperatures we take specific measures to ensure proper curing.  These include the use of insulation blankets to cover and heat the ground, keeping the concrete warm while its curing, and various additives to the ready mix. It’s a little more work than curing concrete on a perfect sunny, 70-degree day!

Speeding Up the Process

Our goal is to get the building “dried in” as fast as possible. This means the walls are up, the roof is on, and the windows and doors are in place. Basically, we want the structure put together to the point where we can heat it and start work on the interior!

To simplify this process in the winter, we sometimes use a pre-fabricated shell, made right here in Minnesota. It’s an innovative process that saves our clients time and cost with winter construction, since the pieces are built indoors (even exterior finishes), brought on-site and put together like a puzzle.

More flexible scheduling

Winter in Minnesota is typically a little slower in the construction industry, which can work in our clients’ favor! Our sub-contractors aren’t as bogged down with projects, which means they have more flexibility in their schedules. More flexibility from the team means we can offset some of the potential weather delays and we are not competing as much with other construction projects for the same labor resources!

Building a ground-up facility gets our clients exactly what they want. They get complete control over the building aesthetic, functionality, and often have fewer surprises in the construction process than what can sometimes pop up with renovating an existing facility. With the right timeline – and the right team to manage it – a winter build can make sense for certain projects.

Surprise! We moved – again!

We moved – again! If that comes as a shock, don’t be too surprised. We just moved up one floor from our old office in the old Cream of Wheat building.

After we settled into our first-floor loft space, the old Cream of Wheat executive offices were put on the market, and we just couldn’t resist swapping them for our loft. There is so much character and detail in these spaces, it felt like the space was in perfect alignment with our brand as a detail-focused commercial construction firm.

commercial construction signage

While we’ve just moved into our space and are truly still unpacking, there are some classic elements that really sold us on the move.

Unique wood details

There’s no denying that quality was a main feature of this office space when it was built. Many of the original finishes are still in great shape throughout our new office, including these gorgeous moldings. Aren’t they cool?

 

Great hidden storage

Keeping in the theme with all the customized woodwork, our space comes with many of the original built-ins, including hidden wall cabinets and deep closets between each of the offices. It’s like our office is forcing us to keep our space organized!

Display space for our awards

We don’t do it for the awards – but they sure do look great displayed on the gorgeous, deep windowsills in our conference room!

A space that’s perfect for our records

We’re not talking paperwork – a requirement of our office space is that it must have great acoustics. And a corner for our custom-built record cabinet. We can’t do great work without the classic tunes to accompany our day!

 

There are still a few upgrades we’ll make to the space to truly make it ours – like bringing some of our signature orange to the space. But we’re thrilled to call this historic suite ours, and can’t wait to see how it evolves as our company continues to grow.

Sweet Press for the Sweetest Spot in Town

Did you hear about the brand new Sweet Martha’s Cookie Jar location at the State Fair this year? If you follow us on social media, then you likely saw the construction of this new cookie spot from start to finish. We had so much fun working on this sweet project – and it didn’t hurt that there were lots of sweet treats in the form of Sweet Martha’s cookies to munch on!

To date, this is our most publicized project, and we thought it would be fun to share all the excellent news coverage Sweet Martha’s received over the two weeks at the Minnesota State Fair to share her new digs!

Sweet Martha’s Cookie Jar has a new spot

Sven tries working at Sweet Martha’s

Kare11 visits the new Sweet Martha’s Cookies location

A State Fair Staple: Sweet Martha’s Cookies

4 Changes at this year’s State Fair you need to know about

At Minnesota State Fair Sweet Martha’s is Expanding

State Fair adds third Sweet Martha’s cookie stand

Stonebridge Lofts Update

The residents of Stonebridge Lofts weren’t thrilled with the building’s communal areas because the space wasn’t very functional. The space was uncomfortable, dark and unwelcoming, and centered around a large, unused reception desk. As the Board began to work through the idea of rebuilding the space, we were approached to bid on the project – and we’re so glad we did!

The building itself is only eight years old, so we didn’t have many of the challenges that we expect to see with older buildings that have been converted to loft spaces. With that said, we were doing the work in an occupied environment where tenants needed the flexibility to come and go as they pleased daily, so safety, noise and dust created some challenges for us to mitigate throughout the construction process.

The architect’s goal with this project was to create a warm, inviting space for lounging and get togethers, integrate artwork by the tenants into the space, and create some useable side rooms for the residents to host smaller groups. With a variety of unique elements integrated into the space, such as the giant pivoting glass door that separates the small meeting area from the larger communal area, we were able to help take their vision to fruition.

The finished product is a cohesive space that incorporates an elegant, yet contemporary blend of spaces that residents are thrilled to have as part of their living space.

What we love about the completed project: We’re thrilled with how this project turned out, from the huge art display walls to the beautiful fireplace with a marble surround, and incredible lighting fixtures that are conversation pieces on their own. This space has a unique style that gives the building a personality of its own.

TEN MINUTES & TEN SWEET QUESTIONS FOR SWEET MARTHA’S COOKIES OWNER MARTHA OLSON

Recently, our very own Paula Klimek interviewed Martha Olson, our client and owner of Sweet Martha’s Cookies. Learn more about their brand, and our recent project with them – as well as where you can check out their newest location at the State Fair.

1. HOW MANY YEARS HAVE YOU BEEN SELLING COOKIES AT THE STATE FAIR?

We started in 1978, so this will be our 40th year anniversary at the Great Minnesota Get-Together!

2. IS THERE A YEAR THAT STANDS OUT FROM THE OTHERS THAT IS ESPECIALLY MEMORABLE AND IF SO, WHY?

“It would definitely be our first year in business because we were rookies and had no idea what we were doing! We somehow muddled through and knew right away we had a successful product.”

3. WHAT MAKES YOUR COOKIES SO DARN GOOD?

“We start out with the best ingredients that we can source. We then mix and bake the dough on demand so the cookies are always fresh for our customers.”

4. WHAT IS THE MOST REWARDING PART OF HAVING A BOOTH AT THE STATE FAIR?

“The most rewarding part is seeing our customers’ faces light up when they’re handed a cone or pail of cookies — it’s truly remarkable! Many of our friends and family also come back annually to work at our booths, which makes it a really fun, 12 day reunion.”

5. DO YOU TRAVEL TO OTHER STATE FAIRS WITH YOUR COOKIES?

“There’s no place like home! At this time, we only operate
at the MN State Fair.”

6. YOU HAVE A BRAND NEW, GROUND UP SWEET MARTHA’S COOKIES BUILDING GOING UP THIS YEAR! HOW EXCITING! WHAT CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT IT? HOW MANY YEARS WAS THIS IN THE MAKING? CLEARLY MACHINERY HILL NEEDS SWEET MARTHA’S COOKIES, WAS THIS LOCATION YOUR IDEA?

“Three years ago, the MN State Fair came to us to see if we would entertain a new location on the North end of the Fairgrounds(Machinery Hill). For two years, we set up a temporary location ,which worked out well. We then received to go ahead to permanently build our third location with the help of Sullivan/Day Construction!”

7. THERE IS A CUTE STORY ABOUT THE CHOCOLATE CHIPS DESIGN ON THE BUILDING I BELIEVE YOUR DAUGHTER HAD A HAND IN THEIR CREATION?

Yes, my daughter, Jen. She was a great art student, so in 2003, I enlisted her to paint all the chocolate chips on the large cookie that is on the front side of our Grandstand booth. We met to go over the
scope of the project and she told me that she knew how to draw a chocolate chip and for me not to worry about it! So I said “OK!” and away she went! And of course, she did a perfect job!”

8. WHEN YOU HAVE TIME AWAY FROM MAKING COOKIES, WHAT STATE FAIR ATTRACTIONS DO YOU LIKE TO VISIT? THE MIDWAY? THE FOOD BUILDING?

“I love looking at the Education Building, as well as seeing all the projects at the Creative Activities Building. The new History Museum at the West End is fabulous. My all time favorite is the
Horticulture Building.”

9. HAVE YOU HAD ANY CELEBRITY SIGHTINGS AT SWEET MARTHA’S BUYING COOKIES?

“We have had so many wonderful people stop by over the years, but it was unbelievable when the Vice President stopped by in the early 2000’s.”

10. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE THING TO EAT AT THE STATE FAIR?

“I have so many wonderful favorites — it’s impossible to list them all!”

Sanctuary Salon Spa

Locally-owned Sanctuary SalonSpa has built a trending – and expanding – brand in the Twin Cites. They’re known for offering a luxurious place to relax and decompress. When we got the call to help with their new location, we were thrilled!

Opening a new spot in a long, skinny building, the new Sanctuary SalonSpa occupies the main floor and the basement of a historical building in downtown Excelsior. Originally built in 1895, this space has two main points of entry, creating a few initial challenges, as we needed to make both doors feel like true reception spots.

Additionally, converting the basement of a historic building with low ceiling heights and rooms at different floor heights presented some unique bones to work with.

To start, we exposed the gorgeous stone walls from the original structure. While they’re original to the building, they offer a warm, inviting look and feel to the spa. Adding in thick carpet in warm tones downstairs, beautiful hardwood floors upstairs, and lots of modern lighting fixtures throughout brought the space to a more luxurious feel.

The upstairs space included the build out of a retail area and five traditional salon stations – you can see from the pictures that these stations are bright, modern and comfortable.

Our favorite part? We love the unique light fixtures found throughout this entire project. They compliment the modern feel of the upstairs, and give the foundation of the building downstairs a balanced feel!