Six months after deciding to make a move from one side of Novato to the other, Birkenstock is ready to hotfoot it back to its iconic building at the north end of Redwood Boulevard. The move will take place Sept. 21-22, a company source said. Birkenstock USA’s headquarters expects a smooth transition and will step into its revamped former offices on the 24th to resume business as usual.
There are no plans to occupy the massive warehouse facilities, though the company will move more than 80 employees and occupy about half the original office space. There is room for expansion and that appears to be needed as Birkenstock is in a growth mode. The company has hired 15 more people over the past year, three of them just last week, and it has about five more positions yet to fill.
Shelly Glasgow, director of product development and merchandising, credits the company’s health and growth trend to managements fleet-footed decisions shortly after the start of the economic downturn.
“We got lean and mean early on,” she said.
Even with that, Birkenstock found that that its customer base remained loyal. “People flock to brands they trust when there is economic uncertainty,” Glasgow said.
Returning employees will find that the old space looks a bit different. Glasgow said the interior has been opened up to allow more natural light in, walls were taken down, and where new walls were erected, they are made of glass.
Glasgow went on to say that “the structure has great bones and it was definitely built to last. And while the building has been upgraded, the improvements that were made maintain its integrity and keep it true to the building’s history."
The color palette remains the same though the interior colors of the carpets and walls also blend in with the local hills outside.
Speaking of local, Glasgow said that the company made a conscious decision to hire North Bay contractors. McDevitt and McDevitt Construction are the general contractors out of Petaluma, and O’Malley, Wilson and Westphal are the architects out of Santa Rosa. Other local companies were employed as subcontractors for a variety of tasks such as painting, landscaping and plumbing.
While Birkenstock is recycling back into its old space, an unnamed light-tech company will lease the Hamilton space shortly after the company vacates, a source said. The space leased out quickly even though early speculation was that it could take as long as a year to match a potential occupant.
(Note: The Birkenstock campus is not open to the public and no products are sold at the Novato location. An open house for local dignitaries and press will soon be announced for sometime in November.)