What Type of HQ Does a Coffee Distributor Build? One Inspired by a Cafe, of Course

The first thing you see when you enter Farmer Brothers' new Northlake headquarters is the coffee bar.An inviting leather couch and cozy counter space sit near a line of brewing machines, allowing employees and guests to prepare their favorite style of joe.Beyond that area is a wide open space with tables and chairs, brightened by natural light from large windows. The goal was to create a coffeehouse culture, says CEO Mike Keown, to inspire change at the century-old coffee supplier and distributor as it competes with the likes of Starbucks in a new era."When you look at this facility, we should be much more appealing to more sophisticated customers," said Keown, who made the decision to relocate the company to the Dallas-Fort Worth area from California. "The U.S. coffee industry is becoming more and more high end every year. And our facility in Torrance would not allow for that."Employees moved into the $90 million corporate complex earlier this year. It includes executive and administrative offices, 100,000 square feet of space for roasting beans, and 300,000 square feet for distribution and labs where new blends are tested.Farmer Brothers has about 175 employees at the Northlake headquarters, with employment expected to reach about 225. About 50 more work in the distribution operation, which has been outsourced to a third-party company. Only about 20 management employees made the move to Texas from Torrance, Calif., where Farmer had about 300 employees.  Continue reading...

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