Tag Archives: All Makes Office Equipment

Company Parties in the Modern Era

January 22, 2019 by
Illustration by Derek Joy

In the fictional world of AMC’s hit television show Mad Men, the parties are a politically incorrect spectacle.

“We have gifts, girls, and games,” office manager Joan Holloway says. Liquor flows until the employees can hardly stand, and the secretary sometimes goes home with someone who is not her husband.

Real companies don’t hold parties like they do on TV—at least not in the 21st century.

“We serve alcohol, but people are not coming to company parties anymore to tie one on,”  explains Amee Zetzman, All Makes Office Equipment CFO. All Makes hosted its 100th anniversary party in September.

Even in places where two-martini lunches once took place, corporate events have tamed. Out-of-town revelers have likened the Omaha Press Club to a Mad Men set. This is due to the rich décor rather than any rowdy antics. The club has been around since 1971 and is located on the 22nd floor of the First National Bank building at 1620 Dodge St. When Rice University held a celebratory party after the school won its first and only NCAA baseball championship in 2003, the carpet was littered with cigars at the end of the night.

Club manager Christine Jones says the club doesn’t do “sorority-style parties” these days. Companies are more aware of the liabilities and tend to tamper down events.

The club’s interior is a lush treat. A redesign in 2008 brought in a warm, inviting charcoal-gray carpet that has mocha-brown swirls. The cream and black furniture complements the immense circular fireplace. The fireplace, topped with a cooper hood, invites people to gather and socialize, and often holds canapés during events. Party-goers snack on beef sliders and chicken or brie wrapped in puff pastry. The bar regularly serves classic Manhattans and Old-Fashioneds. The Blackstone cheesecake is reported to be the original recipe from the hotel.   

Yet the menu and enhanced décor all depend on who is throwing the shindig.

“As long as it is legal to be obtained and done in the state of Nebraska, I will jump through the hoops,” Jones says. 

The Omaha Press Club has kept some of the same clients for 10, even 20, years. Jones calls herself the event planner, dishwasher, bartender…you name it. It’s all-hands-on-deck to run the ship smoothly. In her 19 years as manager, she has seen it all.

News crews or politicians might unexpectedly appear. A Democrat and a Republican could sit at the same table and cause fireworks to ensue. It is Jones’ job to keep it running smoothly.

A six-tier cake, stacked like a skyscraper, once collapsed on Jones as she cut into it.

“It’s falling, falling,” people shouted.

White and black buttercream frosting came crashing down on her.

All Makes Office Equipment had a similar issue this past year when most of their frosted chocolate chip cookies were smashed during a car ride to the company’s centennial party.   

Mishaps do happen, but throwing a corporate party is all about building memories. And if guests are smiling at the end of the night, the event is considered a success.

The Making of a 100-Year-Old Birthday Party

All Makes has occupied the same brick building on the same corner of Farnam and 25th streets for its entire 100-year history—although All Makes Typewriter Co. founder Harry A. Ferer probably never conceived his business would one day sell products for video conferencing.

Last fall, All Makes celebrated its centennial anniversary with a soirée celebrating clients, family, and friends. And the furniture and office-design company knew the perfect spot in which to celebrate.

“People who haven’t been to the building are blown away by the interior,” CEO Jeff Kavich says.

The party lasted for two hours after the offices closed on Thursday, Sept. 20 (from 5 p.m. until 7:30 p.m.). It was the culmination of a year’s worth of planning, including marketing the event to potential attendees such as clients and vendors. A small team of Kavich, Zetzman, and director of marketing Kaitlin Breitag planned the entire event, but many others in the office assisted when asked.

“It worked out best that way,” Breitag says of keeping the planning committee small. “We didn’t want to distract people from their day-to-day jobs.”

The event included roughly 200 guests. Third-generation owner Larry Kavich (now retired) spoke about the company. Acoustic guitarist Rob Hockney and flower bouquets added to the ambience. A variety of hors d’oeuvres—including a miniature “cheese Runza” with red pepper aioli, wild mushroom and parmesan crostini with a hint of truffle flavor, and an Asian five-spiced pork taco with wasabi aioli and cucumber apple pico—were passed to guests so they could easily mingle. Spinach and artichoke dip, grilled beef tenderloin, and marinated vegetables sat at stations. The event also included an open bar, but the happy-hour timeframe minimized the potential for overindulgence.

It was a unique event for All Makes’ unique milestone. On other occasions, if the company entertains, they typically put together smaller parties or lunch events to update clients on the latest office furniture.

“The biggest reason why we threw this party is we wanted to celebrate 100 years of business,” Breitag says. “We also wanted to use it as a way to thank the people who have helped All Makes get to where we are today, especially vendors, manufacturing partners, and our clients.”

Community leaders also attended the event and sung the praises of the 100-year-old company.

“We were pleasantly surprised when Mayor Jean Stothert and Greater Omaha Chamber President David Brown accepted our invitation,” Breitag says. “We were happy they could come. They had nice words about the company; it was exactly what we hoped for.”

And while the celebratory atmosphere encouraged new connections, the planning committee remained mindful that this was a work function.

“In this world, today’s vendor could be tomorrow’s client,” Brietag says. “Today’s client could be tomorrow’s vendor. Bringing that audience together in one area for one event was a way to celebrate a milestone, but it also ended up being a great marketing opportunity. We didn’t want to let that opportunity slip by.”

The company also held smaller events in conjunction with their 100-year anniversary, such as a “100 Years, $100,000” campaign. In this giveaway, one nonprofit in each of the four cities with All Makes locations—Omaha, Lincoln, Kearney, and Des Moines—won a prize package worth $25,000. In Omaha, The Autism Center of Nebraska won $25,000 worth of All Makes office furniture, along with a Kyocera CopyStar copier, and a Meeting Owl conferencing solution.

Visit allmakes.com and omahapressclub.com for more information.

This column was printed in the February/March 2019 edition of B2B. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.


The “Resi-Mercial” Movement

March 23, 2018 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

The office furniture industry is seeking balance between residential and commercial pieces. Achieving “resi-mercial” style is quickly becoming the norm.

This trend began as workplaces dedicated more room to common spaces. Large corporations used these amenities to attract and retain employees.  Now it’s an industry standard to provide areas for relaxation and collaboration, aligning closer to a hospitality setting with residential comfort.

Contract furniture manufacturers took cues from crafted hospitality and residential furniture. The makers movement influenced clients seeking unique pieces. Conversely, commercial furniture has long been more substantial to satisfy the functional requirements of high use.

Corporate clients seek entry spaces and collaborative zones more like living rooms to encourage a level of comfort largely absent. A decline of the traditional 9-to-5 workday has employers actively seeking ways to make employees more comfortable for longer periods of time.

What should be considered when looking at residential furnishings for commercial use? Integrity and durability. Residential furniture is not made for multiple people sitting on it for long periods of time. It shows wear and tear earlier than its commercial counterparts.

Residential furniture also doesn’t carry the same warranties, weight capacity, flammability testing, or stain and wear resistance as commercial furniture. This results in more costly replacements and repairs, and additional coordination time by facilities teams for warranty issues with manufacturers.

It’s important to understand where and how residential-grade furniture can blend with commercial quality to meet the company’s functional and aesthetic goals. Many manufacturers have done a great job producing furniture that looks more artisanal, while still being functional and durable. The availability of decorative, yet functional, pieces at various price points has allowed designers far more freedom and flexibility in creating interesting spaces than ever before.

When blending residential and commercial aesthetics, soft seating in subdued colors, such as browns and grays, works well. The darker palette then offers the ‘homey’ contrast to the sterile white of many corporate interiors. Table lamps and personal lighting further create that comfortable atmosphere. Low lounge seating using warmer, unexpected materials and finishes all contribute to making the space feel more intimate and less institutional.

Most importantly, with commercial furniture, every piece tends to have a set function in the space. When you introduce rustic materials, such as wood, a conference table can now be used as a casual dining table. Residential furniture offers freedom and flexibility, but those dual purposes must fit with the intent of the space. Employees in all industries want to be comfortable at work, and the “resi-mercial” style offers a workable option.

Doug Schuring is director of sales administration at All Makes Office Equipment Co.

This article was printed in the April/May 2018 edition of B2B.

Design Starters for New Businesses

January 19, 2018 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

Companies today actively incorporate some of the following trends into their workplace design. Any number of them will help develop a positive work environment that can be promoted to attract and retain workers needed to grow business. Discussion among experts from various furniture and accessory manufacturers, design firms, and other industry professionals have predicted the most useful trends coming in 2018.

Bring the Outside In

Reclaimed wood panel inspirations, exposed concrete flooring, and natural flora patterns in fabrics and artwork are all becoming more prominent, along with plant life itself in the form of living walls. Also, many of today’s pieces are bringing home into the office. It’s the natural, cozy feeling many finishes and details have that continue to make this trend popular.

Disappearing Wires

Anything having a cord, combined with numerous personal items, make open-plan work areas appear unprofessional. Even conference tables can look messy if wiring is not managed properly. Manufacturers offer solutions under, around, and in tables to create a clean, orderly appearance.

Defined Lounge Areas

Spaces are becoming more open with relaxed seating arrangements. Lighter, powerful, wireless technology has untethered the workspace more than ever. These comfortable areas promote relaxed collaboration. Offices with dedicated lounge areas make working more enjoyable.

Multi-use Spaces

One alternative to cubicles–the bench–is being overtaken by non-assigned seating. The executive suite remains. However, multipurpose spaces are used for everything from multimedia presentations to casual breakout areas. There is also a shift toward height-adjustable tables for standing meetings.

Community Tables

This table reflects more interaction at work and other settings, like coffee shops and restaurants, where large, shared tables are popular. The community table has been a meaningful object for centuries, a symbol of kinship or alliance that is now becoming an important part of the work environment. The table in the workspace exhibits the characteristics of a domicile—more relaxed, congenial,
and collaborative.

Offices Organized by Color

Work environments that organize by color help with thinking and inspiration. Several studies find color boosts happiness, productivity, and creativity. Offices that integrate pops of color in unexpected ways strive to be at the forefront and generally lead their competitors in attracting and retaining workers.

No More Permanent Layouts

Over-planned, permanent layouts are evolving into ever-changing work landscapes. Products designed from a “kit of parts” move into place and fit together without rules-based planning, becoming the office of the future. Components are mixed, stacked, and moved around, offering countless combinations for a dynamic and collaborative workplace.

Doug Schuring is the director of sales administration at All Makes Office Equipment Co.

This column was printed in the February/March 2018 edition of B2B.

Make First 
Impressions Count

January 13, 2014 by

How a business furnishes its workspace can define the company culture and help employees thrive. A well-planned office creates a good initial impression on guests and draws in potential candidates; it also improves the productivity and attitudes of your employees. With the right interiors and good quality furniture, you can set the tone of your business and impress potential clients from the minute they step into your office. 
Here are a few things to take into consideration when planning your office space:

  • Lobby. Start with a reception station that is warm and inviting. Add guest or lounge seating and occasional tables to complete the welcome area.
  • Conference room. The size of the table you need depends on the number of people you need to fit around it. Allow 30 inches per person to keep meetings comfortable. Conference chairs typically don’t require the advanced functionality of a work chair, so look for low or mid-back chairs that provide basic function and support.
  • Private office. Executives and managers typically need desks and an executive chair. Consider appearance as well as functionality to strike the right mix of prestige, professionalism, and personality.
  • Seating. Over one third of an average employee’s day is spent in the office. If the office furniture causes discomfort or pain, it may create serious dangers to your health. It’s necessary that office furniture, particularly office chairs, be ergonomically designed. An ergonomic workplace promotes better work management and organization among staff and also makes the environment more relaxed and pleasant.
  • Filing area/copy center. A good mix of shared and private storage helps keep common areas better organized and employees more productive.

Visit the All Makes showroom at 25th and Farnam streets in Omaha to see the latest office furniture and design trends on display. The All Makes team is trained to help you make design and furniture purchases that fit your office atmosphere, your work style, and your budget.

Five Tips for Creating a Home Office

August 26, 2013 by

Your home office should be a place you want to be and to spend time in. By utilizing basic design principles to make it productive and inspiring, you can make sure you actually work when you’re working from home. Here are five tips for creating a home workspace.

Paint the walls a color that inspires you. Color can be used to soothe, stimulate, energize, or brighten—choose the mood you want in your workspace and select a paint color accordingly.

Buy a comfortable office chair. If you’re going to be spending a significant amount of time in your home office, choose a chair that has adjustable height, reclining seat back, armrests, a deep seat depth, and adjustable lumbar support.

Let the light in.  Good lighting is essential. Ideally you want as much natural daylight as possible. Natural light not only saves electrical energy, but it gives you more personal energy, too. The link between sunlight and vitamin D has been established for a long time, but the impact of natural lighting on mood continues to be studied.

Choose meaningful accessories.  Select personal items that motivate you to get work done. The natural look of plants provides a comfortable, relaxing touch to the office. Plants play a vital role in providing a pleasant and tranquil environment in which to move, work, or relax. Indoor plants can also help health, well-being, and productivity in the workplace.

Take control of your technology. Set computers, printers, and phones close to outlets so the cords can easily be hidden. Desks that come equipped with wire management grommets also ensure a clutter-free workspace.

Visit the All Makes showroom at 25th and Farnam streets in Omaha to see the latest office furniture and design trends on display. The All Makes team is trained to help you make design and furniture purchases that fit your office atmosphere, your work style, and your budget. 

Five Trends in Office Design

Office environments are ever-changing. From height-adjustable desks to mobile work surfaces to LED lighting options—the possibilities are endless. Today’s best offices are designed to reflect the shifting expectations and needs of their employees. Here are five current trends in office design:

  • Technology is key. Technology is now integrated into office environments. Interactive white boards, electrified surfaces, and “touch down” areas that allow for mobile devices to be used are just a couple examples of how technology is breaking down barriers of the traditional workplace.
  • Open workspaces. The lowering of panels or even the removal of all dividers between people can enhance the teaming of groups and sharing of information without even moving away from their work areas. Open spaces can make people feel more comfortable and not so boxed in, which can create greater productivity and efficiency.
  • Collaboration. Collaborative areas are designed to get people more involved and connected with one another. Meeting spaces are being created to encourage collaboration between staff members. This might include lounge areas, benches and tables, or even café areas. Collaborative areas can take the place of formal reserved conference rooms or even private offices.
  • Decline in available space. The economic recession has led to companies purchasing smaller offices or downsizing current offices, which means individual workspaces are shrinking.
  • Fewer private offices. Having fewer private offices provides useful space for more collaborative areas. Today, furniture that is mobile, adjustable, multifunctional, and adaptable is just as important as private offices.

When companies incorporate modern design into their workplace, they will retain and attract the best talent and increase their overall productivity.

Visit the All Makes showroom at 25th and Farnam streets in Omaha to see the latest office furniture and design trends on display. The All Makes team is trained to help you make design and furniture purchases that fit your office atmosphere, your work style, and your budget.

Office Seating

November 25, 2012 by

When it comes to your office chair, one size does not fit all. Chairs are the most personal piece of office furniture—and the most complex—because they must adapt to all kinds of people and many types of work.

If you sit behind a desk regularly, you know how important it is to have a good chair. Many of us spend more hours in our office chair than all the other chairs and sofas in our life combined. Not having the right chair can cause lower back pain, as well as neck and shoulder pain.

Studies have linked the comfort of a workplace directly to the efficiency levels of employees and employee turnover. In an average day, people spend 5.7 hours sitting in their chair and 7 hours sleeping in their bed. If you’re one of those people who spend hours in a chair, below are some guidelines to healthy seating.

  • Raise or lower your seat so your thighs are parallel to the floor and your feet are flat on the floor or a footrest.
  • Adjust the depth of your seat pan so you have at least 2” of clearance between the back of your knees and the front of the seat.
  • Adjust the height of your backrest so it fits comfortably on the small of your back.
  • Adjust your chair’s recline tension—if necessary—to support varying degrees of recline. Avoid using recline locks.
  • Lean back and relax in your chair to allow the backrest to provide full support for your upper body.

Remember, a quality chair should always have a lifetime warranty on the frame and mechanical parts and a 5- to 10-year warranty on fabric.

Stop by All Makes Office Equipment Co. at 25th & Farnam streets to see what’s new in the office. The All Makes team is trained to help you make design and furniture purchases that fit your office atmosphere, your work style, and your budget.