ROCHELLE — Maplehurst Farms is near completion of its new corporate office off Moore Road.
Most of the company’s staff has moved into the one-story office building that offers multiple conference rooms, offices and workstations to allow team members to better serve customers. Finishing touches are being put on and Maplehurst hopes to have an open house sometime in the spring.
“It's exciting,” Maplehurst Farms Controller Barbara Koehnke said. “It's very fulfilling for me, having been here 20 years, to see it come to fruition. And it's exciting to bring in the employees and show that we value them and where and how they work. We're trying to give back to them as well as provide for our customers."
Construction began on the building in April. Maplehurst’s old office was built back in the early 70s and was added onto a few times before putting a trailer onto it. That building had seen growth, but wasn’t viable for long term expansion, Koehnke said. There’s extra space in the new building for future growth.
Maplehurst Assistant General Manager Jerry Cowan said the prospect of a new office was talked about in his first meeting seven years ago. He’s enjoyed seeing it finally come together. He likes that the company now has conference rooms and he thinks new amenities like that will improve productivity.
“We outgrew our previous office and we want to continue growing,” Cowan said. “In order to do that, we needed some better offices and facilities. For me it's the morale of the company and the people here worked awfully hard to get this nicer office. I think it'll also help attract more people who want to come work here. We will definitely be more efficient than we were. There's nicer, newer technology and if you were in the other office, you'd be shocked."
Remaining tasks inside the building include delivery and installation of cabinets and chairs along with aesthetic work. The front desks will be made to look like grain bins. The office has a full kitchen.
Cowan called the construction process a “very smooth build.” Morton Buildings was the contractor. The work came during an uncertain time in the construction industry with supply chain issues and higher prices due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“There have been very few headaches with any of the materials or getting anything backordered,” Koehnke said. “We've been pretty fortunate. We have been able to remain basically within budget, so we're very happy about that. Even with the rising costs, we were able to lock in pricing prior to major jumps. We were pretty fortunate with that."
Koehnke said the nice weather during the spring also went Maplehurst’s way as it avoided any delays due to rain or mud. The majority of the project’s subcontractors were local, including Anderson Plumbing and Dixon Glass.
Cowan believes the new office’s layout will make for a more centralized location for staff, compared to the old building where employees were spread out.
Koehnke is excited that customers will have easier access to a “one stop shop” where they can talk about things like grain sales and inputs all within a few feet of each other. If necessary, those groups can come together and collaborate in the conference room, which they didn’t have access to before.
“It also shows that Maplehurst is here to stay,” Koehnke said. “We're here. We're wanting to be in this community. We want to serve the community and there's no better way than to put a building up and show that we're not going away.”
“There's no doubt about it,” Cowan said. “We're here to stay forever. That's the goal, is always.”