Total transformation: Downtown shelter evolves into modern marketing firm

Jan. 24, 2019

This paid piece is sponsored by Interstate Office Products.

Most people wouldn’t have looked at the former Good Shepherd Center in downtown Sioux Falls and seen the future of their business.

Eric Sivertsen and the team at Epicosity were an exception, but committing to the building at 300 N. Main Ave. as the future office for their marketing firm came with a big task.

“We had to turn a homeless shelter into the most modern agency experience in the state,” Sivertsen said.

“It was no small feat to accomplish.”

Choosing a partner

To transform the space, Epicosity needed to work with professional partners who could see and share the vision.

Interstate Office Products easily fit that role.

“I went out and did bids with multiple competitors, including IOP,” Sivertsen said. “They won my business for a number of reasons, beginning with their design sense and ability to work in collaboration with me to come up with a vision for the space. It was the best I’ve seen.”

Epicosity also had experience with IOP from its former office on the east side of Sioux Falls, where the company helped with furniture.

“Being a Steelcase provider also gave them an advantage,” Sivertsen said. “We like the warranty and the products. Steelcase not only thinks about the functionality of the space more than any company I’ve seen, but they’re amazing pieces.”

And finally, the relationship with IOP was one Sivertsen felt good about personally.

“I know IOP CEO Gary Gaspar and the person he is in the community. I have a ton of respect for him, and it’s good to do business with somebody you respect,” Sivertsen said. “IOP was a natural choice for us.”

Creating the design

Veteran IOP designer Marcia Young began working with Epicosity to plan out the space and decide how to furnish it.

“It was pretty dark and dingy at first,” she said. “And in Epicosity’s former space, they had furniture that didn’t really reflect how much they had grown up as an agency. So we had a lot of opportunities.”

Design partner Architecture Incorporated helped open up the building, dealing with various ramps and elevation changes that had been added over time and adding creative touches such as a miniature golf course designed into the carpet and built-in seating for company gatherings.

Then, IOP got to work helping Epicosity create work stations for employees.

“We did several iterations to get the right one, and they were really pleased with it,” Young said.

Epicosity approached the decisions as investments in its team, Sivertsen said.

“From a workforce standpoint, you have to do a lot to stand out,” he said. “We wanted a space that not only looked modern but reflected how people work together and function and cohabitate.”

Each work station includes a height-adjustable work surface as well as a storage cubby, additional storage below with a cushion top and an open bookcase.

“We tried to put a pop of color in each space and give them a way to make their work station unique – their little home to go to,” Young said.

In the reception area, IOP provided a block sofa and matching chairs for guests.

“Those are unique pieces,” Young said. “It fits the look of the space right when you walk in. It’s not standard-looking furniture.”

Epicosity was able to bring some of its furniture from IOP that was used in the former office into the new location, where it continues to serve in common areas and collaboration spaces. The firm also added new pieces, including Bivi chairs with a small hood over them for some privacy.

“So if an employee just wants to disappear in the space, they can,” Sivertsen said. “Some of the furniture options really help people to have variety, so they can work how they need to work together. I really commend the designers. There are so many things to choose from. They really help narrow down functionally and visually what you should do.”

Another big benefit to IOP’s work is something employees and guests don’t see, Sivertsen said.

“We ran fiber through the whole space for one of the fastest internet connections in the city, and IOP had to seamlessly integrate that,” he said. “That’s often overlooked, but no matter what I was choosing, IOP accommodated it.”

The interior system chosen has a high capacity for cabling and any other technology needs, Young said.

“It’s seamless. It’s all concealed so there are no cords or wires laying around. It’s a nice, clean installation. It looks like a showplace when you walk in there. It came together really nicely.”

Growing again

Epicosity moved into its new space in 2016, and two years later it was growing again. The 30-person team is a full-service agency and expanding sooner than expected.

Once again, the firm turned to IOP for furnishing additional work space, a unique area for web staff, a conference space and executive offices. It will be done this winter.

“They have really catered our space to be conducive to getting the most out of the square footage we have,” Sivertsen said.

As the entire building has come together, Sivertsen said IOP gave him confidence that his office would come together the way he wanted and in a way that would work for everyone in it.

“I didn’t have to sacrifice creating a vision so I could have functionality,” he said.

“I might have had a half-baked idea, and they brought a lot of options to consider and filled in some of the holes and things I didn’t know. They helped think about how people would work together, from acoustics to visual distractions. That expertise is invaluable.”

“I just really enjoy Eric’s passion and desire to create a space that stands apart,” Young said. “He’s really in the trenches on every little decision and thinks through everything and how it looks and how it’s going to work for his employees. I just really appreciate his desire for a great outcome for his company.”

IOP shared that desire, Sivertsen added.

“That is the real difference. They were dedicated to getting it right for me as a business owner. They take care of you. That’s a huge differentiator. It absolutely exceeded our expectations.”

Total transformation: Downtown shelter evolves into modern marketing firm

“We had to turn a homeless shelter into the most modern agency experience in the state.” Here’s how Epicosity got it done.

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