About 6 years ago, Wazoo was operated out of my garage. 4.5 years ago it was upgraded to a small office/warehouse space in Seabrook, TX, and now only a few weeks ago, we've uprooted everything to, once again, promote growth!
We've moved The International Wazoo Headquarters to Longmont, Colorado
The decision to move has been mulled over for more than a year now. We knew we wanted to move, but where? Our key goal in moving was to find a location that not only promotes growth for the company, but offers a lifestyle more in line with the products we create. Colorado has established state-provided infrastructure to foster small business growth in the east-slope region of Colorado over the last few years. It has turned this region into a mecca for outdoor brands, US based manufacturing, and a lifestyle of adventure. Even Outdoor Retailer has moved their trade shows to Denver. All bearings seemed to point toward Colorado!
A few months back, Dustin took a scouting trip to the area in search of a new location for Wazoo. From Denver to Evergreen, as far up into the mountains as Georgetown, he worked his way back towards Longmont where he found a space that was a perfect fit for us. It was a shared office/warehouse facility called I2Five with an owner named Loren who is passionate about developing the space into more than just a place for people to work. His focus is on outdoor brands, and doing everything in his power to help fuel the entrepreneurial fire. It was Kokopelli Packraft that tipped us off to this location. They are a brand we have been following for a few years and are current tenants in the facility. It's great to have other people doing similar things to bounce ideas off of.
Our move into the new Wazoo warehouse location
Now that we had a location in mind it was time to figure out how to execute a full on relocation with minimal disruption for our customers. This was no small feat! We planned our holiday sales for 2018 to deplete a majority of our stock so we wouldn't have as much stuff to move. This was a wild success and we sold out much quicker than anticipated. Over the last couple months, a majority of our products have been set to Pre-Order status to buy us a little time to get things back up and running, rebuild stock, and get back to full speed operation.
As soon as the Christmas orders were shipped out, we started packing up. We loaded up a POD with all of our belongings (and by that, I mean we packed it FULL - the picture below was only the beginning) and shipped it up to Longmont. The POD had a few days head start before we loaded up the cars and hit the road.
The Wazoo Move Crew
It may be important to define who this "we" is in the story. Many of you long-time customers know us all by name here at Wazoo so some of this may get a little personal. In moving a company across the country, it's hard to expect the employees to uproot themselves from their friends and families to move along with you. To this end, the Wazoo band is breaking up :(
As many of you know, Brent and his wife just had a baby boy at the end of 2018. He's been the front line voice of Wazoo for around 3 years now! A majority of your emails and phone calls were answered by him, and he got to know a lot of you regulars pretty well. Sadly, with the new family, he was unable to make the move with us. I (Nick) am also currently anchored in Houston with my wife working on the next manned space flight vehicle so I'll be taking a remote position doing content generation like this, digital marketing, and anything else I can from a remote location.
There for a while it looked like Dustin may be carrying the weight all by himself, and though he's more than capable, it was a welcomed proposal when Roxann offered to help Wazoo with the transition. I'm sure some of you will recognize the name! She had been with us for a couple years but moved onto other work. Her experience with the company made it pretty easy to pick up right where we left off... but 2 full time employees won't be enough to keep operations running smoothly. It was time to hire a new member of the Wazoo Crew.
We posted some listings online to see if we could get a couple candidates to consider... apparently we underestimated the people in Colorado. We had nearly 300 applicants for the position! That took a LONG time to sort them all. We narrowed it down to the top 16 that we wanted to do phone interviews with and since we had 17 hours of sitting in the car, it was time to multitask!
We knocked out all the phone interviews along the way, discussed candidates, did our best to rank them, and started planning towards some in-person interviews once we got the office set up a little bit. I don't want to spoil anything, so for now, all I'm going to say is we hired someone. You'll have to check back in a future blog feature to see who.
Well, the new hire is a long-term thing. In the short term, we had some extra hands getting things built out and setup. For our first week up there, we had all the previously mentioned people as well as a couple extra friends, Wes and Lauren. 6 people, 1 week, and a mountain of work to be done.
The Colorado Location
When we arrived, the FJBoatCycleMobile was still in one piece and the POD was there safe and sound! It was time to get a lay of the land and hit the ground running.
Loren, the property owner, showed us around the space, laid out a rough concept of where we'd setup our warehouse space and yes, that's a ping pong table.
We were looking for growth potential and the best bang for our buck during Dustin's initial scouting visit. It led us to the large centrally located office that quickly became known as "The Cave" due to its lack of windows. Though the property manager offered to install a large window for us to let outside light in, we wanted to make sure we saw any other available options to make the best decision.
Dustin led the push to upgrade our intended office space to a smaller, more expensive one with a view. It was the best decision he made all trip! We are now positioned in a bright space with direct line of sight to the mountains. After all, we did just move our business across the country for the outdoor lifestyle and now it will permeate everything we do!
The other concern with "The Cave" was the lack of a small office nearby for Dustin. Turns out that this new gem also had a matching smaller office right next door. It couldn't have worked out any better for what we were looking for.
With the office space sorted, it was time to unload the POD and construct the warehouse.
Loren suggested we use his decorative accent pallet wall as our exterior. I forgot to get a picture of it finished, but the final product will hopefully have LED backlighting!
Walls were sorted but doors were still an unknown. Building off the pallet accent wall concept, Loren mentioned he had a couple mega pallets. We eyeball it and "yeah, that is a massive hunk of wood" as they turn to me saying "you're an engineer, can you turn it into a door?"
Not only did we turn it into a door, we turned it into a gravity defying giant pallet barn door!
Oh, and it actually works too!
Work Hard Play Harder
We spent a ton of time, rushed lunches, and late nights trying to get all this done in the few days we had available but we still made sure to take time to stop and smell the roses. The lunar eclipse aka Blood Moon totality occurred right as we were closing up the shop for the night. Hard to tell in the cell phone picture, but it was an eerie red color in a beautiful clear Colorado night sky. Pretty cool to see right over our new location!
We drove up to Estes Park for a short hike around Lily Lake. We didn't get to go to Rocky Mountain National Park since the government was still shut down at the time but there's still plenty of mountains to appreciate.
We hit a variety of different breweries around the area including Wibby Brewing, 300 Suns, Bootstrap, Lumpy Ridge, and we got a special treat at Grossen Bart where we were admiring the huge chalk art wall as we find out the artist is there enjoying a beer. We got to hang out with Lindsey and pick her brain about the art, the area, and all the local whatnot.
If I had to sum it all up, I'd throw a big thank you out there to Longmont for accepting some new transplants and let you all know there are some really exciting things coming for 2019. Bear with us a little longer as we continue ironing out the wrinkles of the transition, we'll introduce you to the new team member, and have a lot more content coming your way.
Oh, and did I forget to mention that our new Longmont location has an entrepreneur fuel station?