When Weyco Group began renovating its Wisconsin headquarters in 2017, business — and the footwear industry overall — was in a very different place. But the steps the company took nearly four years ago are helping its teams to navigate the challenges of the pandemic, and will hopefully shape new directions for its brands.
The 114-year-old parent company of the Florsheim, Stacy Adams, Nunn Bush, Bogs and Rafters brands recently completed a redesign and expansion of its offices in Glendale, Wis., led by national design firm HGA.
Some of the core goals of the project were to modernize the look of the space and introduce more technological innovations, in order to foster creativity among Weyco’s design, marketing and product development teams.
Those teams now occupy a daylight second-floor space with floor-to-ceiling windows. It is outfitted with personal workstations, as well as formal and informal meeting spots and brand-specific collaboration areas featuring wall-to-wall magnetic boards. Teams can also take advantage of the workshop, materials library and brand-specific storage near the pin-up spaces.
Alicen Damico, lead designer on the project from HGA, said in a statement, “The previous spaces had very minimal natural light. In the new office, through strategic design, Weyco creatives are able to manipulate natural light which is important in viewing product colors, materials.”
As part of the project, Weyco also redesigned its lobby and entryway, and added a communal hospitality space that connects to four new brand showrooms on the first floor.
The showrooms were each designed to reflect the particular character of a brand, but are tied together by similar design materials, all inspired by Weyco’s history and culture. The rooms also were outfitted with state-of-the-art audio-visual technologies, which have become essential due to COVID-19.
“Throughout the pandemic, virtual meetings are making it possible to stay connected to our customers,” Weyco VP of design Kevin Ringgold said in a statement. “The new technology integrated into our showrooms and conference rooms have allowed us to create the next best thing to being in-person.”
He noted that the new system of cameras, lighting and microphones allow teams to conduct meetings and show the latest collections to retail buyers in a more-professional manner.
The pandemic has caused other changes to work at Weyco, which has a total of 270 employees, with about 142 based in its Glendale headquarters.
Executives said in response to the health concerns during the pandemic, their offices have been equipped with a UV filtration system. In addition, the offices are currently limited to employees only, who are required to wear masks in the building and social distance at workstations and in meetings.
Those social distancing requirements have been made easier by the addition of the new second-floor common spaces and the first-floor hospitality space. And thanks to the AV technologies, larger meetings can be attended remotely.
Click here to see more photos of the new Weyco offices.