Brandon Marquoit, owner of a commercial printing services business, had reached a breaking point. “We were totally hamstrung and had no more space to grow or run our business,” he stated.
River City Reproductions was growing, but Marquoit had no space for the equipment he had, much less the machines he needed to buy to continue expanding his customer base. The 5,000 square feet of industrial warehouse River City had occupied for 15 years was maxed out.The equipment layout was haphazard, the workflow was inefficient, and employee productivity was less than ideal.
It’s a scenario C.J. Mackenzie, the vice president of construction for Grand Rapids-based First Companies, sees — and corrects — often. First Companies has been a leader in West Michigan for 50 years with construction, real estate and property management divisions that can solve any space problem.
Renovate, Remodel, Refresh, Redesign
“Clients don’t intend to get in this situation, but it happens all the time,” said Mackenzie. “It affects operations, it affects morale, and it affects the bottom line of your business.
We take the time to understand what clients do, how they want their businesses to run, and then develop space options that fit their goals and fix their problems. This may include relocating the business or new, ground-up construction as well as office expansions and remodels.”
Within three days of calling First Companies, Marquoit had a plan for his company’s future.The business next door was moving, giving River City the ability to double its size. The team at First Companies presented the following options: to renovate the two spaces, to move to another existing facility, or to build from the ground-up. The projected costs and potential ROI were presented for each option to help River City make a well-informed decision.
Marquoit said the expansion solution presented by First Companies streamlined his company’s workflow and maximized efficiency. The project was completed with no office closure or downtime.
“We did what was right for us, which was a complete overhaul of where we were,” Marquoit said. “First Companies was a partner that helped guide us to make the right decision. There was no pressure, only insight into what could help us best utilize our space and ensure room to grow.”
Your Space, Our Business
Mackenzie said the top priority of First Companies is to deliver what the client needs.“Our desire is always to turn their remodel investment into a return that both improves their business and increases the value of the property,” he said. “At First Companies, we have a complete range of services — real estate, construction and property management — at our fingertips. We welcome the challenge to come up with the best solutions to achieve our clients’ goals and stay within budget.”
Across town, the leadership at the engineering firm DornerWorks was faced with similar issues.
DornerWorks needed space for about 20 more employees, and it was time to refresh the office environment from the late 1970s décor the company inherited when it bought the building in 2008.
“The space was dark and dingy, and it didn’t offer the open work environment we wanted,” said Kevin Crots, an engineer who doubles as the tech company’s facilities director. “We needed an open area with collaborative work spaces that allowed everybody to feel like they still had their own space.
“The work was a total gut job. First Companies took it right down to the steel, concrete and windows then rebuilt it the way we wanted. There was great communication. They were responsive. They pulled it all together, and it looks great.”
Experts have found that renovations and remodels benefit both building owners and tenants. Updated structures generally are easier to lease and are often rented at a higher monthly rate. There are savings achieved in reducing operating costs such as maintenance, energy efficiency, safety and security. It is easier to attract and retain high-performing, talented employees. The updated atmosphere turns the facility into a business recruitment tool that welcomes prospective employees and clients.
MacKenzie said First Companies operates from a business owner’s perspective and then molds solutions that consider long-term maintenance and ROI of the construction, ensuring spaces meet the current and future needs of the business. “We first seek to understand the vision of the company, where they have been, where they are, and where they see their business going. Through our long history we have learned a lot of lessons on what works and how to do it right. Our team is committed to doing whatever it takes to create spaces where our customers’ businesses thrive.”
Visit First Companies website or call us at 616-698-5000 to learn more about the family-owned business.