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Omaha Magazine

Scooter’s Central: Coffee Company's New Hub Percolates Collaboration

Jan 25, 2023 12:25PM ● By Tamsen Butler
Scooter's Central. Scooter's Coffee.

Photo by Sarah Lemke.

When Scooter’s Coffee employees worked at home during the pandemic, their productivity increased. While many enjoyed the flexibility, others felt a lack of engagement and collaboration with coworkers. They missed being in the office, where creativity blossoms during in-person interactions, uninhibited by screens and faulty connections. Still, the benefits of remote work hold strong appeal.

Mikala Friedrich, the company’s vice president of human resources, carefully considered the feedback employees gave and spearheaded the effort to create a space that could welcome them back—when they were ready.

Friedrich and her team began vetting various locations within the Omaha metro in spring 2021. 
“Honestly, there’s such a plethora of office space available in Omaha that, with the timeline to build instead of just demoing and using some existing space, this was just better for us. It gives us flexibility,” Friedrich explained. 

When the Scooter’s team entered the early planning stages for their new corporate headquarters, the designer presented them with a plan that Friedrich described as a “cubicle farm.” They asked how it might be reimagined for a more flexible, collaborative workspace. The revised blueprint took the post-pandemic workforce into consideration with design by Holland Basham Architects, and ergonomic office furniture sourced from Steelcase.

Renovations started winter 2021-22 on a space located in west Omaha on Miracle Hills Drive. The new headquarters feels more like an expansive Scooter’s Coffeehouse than a traditional office suite. Employees relocated from the former headquarters on Sapp Brothers Drive to their new space in fall 2022. 

Scooter’s branding immediately greets visitors upon exiting the elevator. When entering the welcoming space, dubbed the “living room,” there is a feeling of having entered a place that’s open and ideal for hanging out.

“A lot of our coffee shops feel like a living room,” Friedrich said. “We wanted that here too, an inviting space–that’s just who we are.”

According to Friedrich, the headquarters is intended to be a “flexible work environment designed to bring our employees together when it makes the most sense.” With only three individually assigned offices in the 24,000-square-foot space, the rest of the office consists of a variety of flexible seating, collaborative spaces, and training areas. Employees can stow their personal belongings in lockers since co-founder Don Eckles, CEO Todd Graeve, and President Joe Thornton are the only people with permanently assigned desks.

The open floor plan provides ample room for ideas to breathe.

“It’s a place to ideate and brainstorm, not to just put your headphones in,” Friedrich said. “There are quiet places if you need to make a call, but really we’re coming together to do collaboration and teamwork.”

The “quiet places” were a major consideration when pulling the space together. Strategically placed sound buffers hang from the wall, and felt accessories adorn lighting fixtures, desks, and working boards to keep noise to a minimum. 

Collaboration, noise control, and flexibility define the new Scooter’s headquarters—it’s simple for employees to pick a desired spot in the office to work, or for groups to connect in a comfortable, unrestrictive setting. Natural light beams through the windows, and a spacious balcony provides a relaxing alcove for break time.

Of course, Scooter’s branding flows throughout.

“The space is really branded 100% Scooter’s,” said Scott Eastman, creative director. “We wanted a family and relationship feel.” 

Photos of Scooter’s baristas at work and displays of the business’ core values promote this 
company ethos.

“We thought about how the space can invite conversation and how it can put everyone on a more even playing field,” Friedrich added. “It’s an inspiration space.”

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This article originally appeared in the February/March 2023 issue of B2B Magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.  
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