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Oboz Moves Into New Montana Headquarters After Nearly Doubling Its Staff During COVID-19

Oboz has a new home.

The outdoor brand’s new headquarters is located at 212 South Wallace Ave. in Bozeman, Mont., directly across the street from its former digs.

The space is expected to be fully move-in ready in September.

The new HQ spans 8,300 square feet, an upgrade from the 6,200 square feet it once occupied at 201 South Wallace Ave. It is the former home of software solutions company Wisetail and sits next to land conservation organization Gallatin Valley Land Trust.

Oboz headquarters Bozeman Montana
The entrance of the new Oboz headquarters.
CREDIT: Peter Verry

Oboz president Amy Beck explained to FN that the functionality of the new headquarters makes it a massive upgrade. “We had three units, so it was like three different spaces. It was a little bit of a maze, not seamless,” she said.

Aside from the additional space and greater functionality, the new headquarters will feature an Oboz logo made with moss at the entrance and the brand manifesto on another wall. Also, the first floor has a room to showcase shoes and serve as a place to meet with retailers, as well as a customer and dealer services section that seats 14 people.

Oboz headquarters Bozeman Montana
The customer and dealer services section of the new Oboz headquarters.
CREDIT: Peter Verry

The bottom level houses the brand’s main conference room for larger meetings and several other meeting rooms, a section for product and marketing, a shipping station and a storage area for samples and archives. The company will also make use of an outside patio area on the lower level for summer meetings and a space overlooking the main floor that will be used for finance and operations.

The sustainability-minded brand also plans to fill the new headquarters with furniture from Herman Miller, a company it chose because of its environmental stance.

Although there’s a lot of newness, Oboz will bring over some familiar things from its old home — most notably, a wooden conference table built by John Connelly, the company’s founder.

Also, Oboz director of marketing Rich Hohne said the brand’s offices have always been dog friendly, with anywhere from three to six pups hanging around each day. Because of this, the new HQ will feature dog beds for the staff’s four-legged friends.

Oboz headquarters Bozeman Montana
The lower-level outside patio area of the new Oboz HQ, which will be used for summer meetings.
CREDIT: Peter Verry

Finding a new space has long been in the plans for Oboz. Beck explained to FN that the company had been looking for a new home prior to COVID-19 and found one it was interested in on South Black Avenue, closer to the middle of downtown Bozeman. Ultimately, the company opted to put the move on hold because of the uncertainty surrounding the pandemic.

However, since the coronavirus swept through the U.S., Oboz has experienced significant growth, due in part to heightened consumer demand for outdoor products. For its fiscal first half of 2021, sales increased 3.8% to $22.1 million. In response, the company has significantly increased its staff size, making finding additional space a must.

“We were very fortunate during COVID that we did not have to lay anyone off, and we had a plan to hire,” said Beck. “When the business started to show it was going to recover faster than we thought, we were able to proceed with our plans. Every department got some support. We were running on about 22 people, we have 36 now and in the next two months we’ll be around 41. We have another 15 planned for this year, too. We were focused on bringing in more experience across various different disciplines.”

Beck said Oboz reengaged in talks to move into the building on South Black Avenue, but unexpectedly was presented with another opportunity.

“Gallatin Valley Land Trust had been a longtime partner of ours, and we were there having a happy hour when it started to get nice out. Our CFO, Tim [Tripp], overheard someone say, ‘Did you know Wisetail moved out of the space?’ Tim was like, ‘Is it available?’ It was so serendipitous.”

She continued, “Tim called the landlord literally the next day. They hadn’t even advertised it yet. We popped in, saw the space, realized it’s going to accommodate our needs for at least the next three to five years, and it just felt right to us.”

After the visit, the next call was to parent company Kathmandu, which acquired Oboz in 2018.

“They [agreed] we have to move there for the culture, for the health of our team, for collaboration — all of the things we think are going to be important when we come out of this,” Beck said. “To have a space that we’re going to be really proud of, to showcase our brand and bring people into it, is going to be important for us for the future.”

Oboz headquarters Bozeman Montana
The upper level for finance and operations inside the new Oboz headquarters
CREDIT: Peter Verry

However, with COVID-19 still present, Beck doesn’t expect the team to return to the office in its entirety once the facility is fully functional.

“We’re going to come back in a flexible environment. We’re going to have flexible spaces in here, bookable spaces,” Beck said. “And there are little trolleys everywhere so you can set yourself up on a mobile desktop. Or you can book conference spaces if you want to have team meetings all day. Everything will be adaptable.”

She continued, “[And] I’m not going to do mandatory [full attendance]. We’re small enough, we communicate incredibly well and the team’s proven to be trustworthy in finding the best ways to work efficiently.”

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