Dot Foods broke ground on two large expansion projects at the company's corporate headquarters in Mt. Sterling, Ill. Dot's new office expansion will add 60,000 square feet to the north end of the existing office structure and 125,000 square feet of outdoor/green space. This will be the third expansion of the office facilities, which originally opened in 1988. 

"We're investing $14.6 million in this project," says Joe Tracy, chief executive officer. "When it's complete in February 2018, it will allow us to offer some great new features to our employees and bring more of them together in one office."

Currently, around 200 Dot employees work out of the first facility on Buckhorn Road. That building dates back to 1977. The new office space will allow those employees to relocate to Dot's main campus at 1 Dot Way by adding 200 new cubicles and approximately 30 offices. The design includes a dozen new meeting rooms and an auditorium that will seat 125 people. 

This project takes a different approach to the traditional office space. Cubicles are moved to the outside of the room and offices to the center to allow more access to natural light. Cube walls are lowered and the design features light colors to help make the space open and bright. Meeting rooms of various sizes and soft seating areas allow for work on collaborative projects, and alternative work space is incorporated; the expansion will include patios on both the first and second floors and several outdoor break areas. 

"People work differently, and we want to set all our employees up with an environment designed to help them succeed," Tracy says.

The new space will also be home to Dot's Culinary Innovation Center. 

"We'll be able to put them in the kitchen with our corporate chef, and let them see the products we sell in action," Tracy adds. "Dot carries 118,000 different items from 835 manufacturer partners, and now it will be much easier for us to showcase that offering."

Dot will also renovate and expand the break room in its frozen warehouse with a $2.5 million facelift. The facility used by 400 employees will grow by 4,800 square feet inside and 4,000 square feet of covered, outdoor area. Additions also include nearly 700 new employee lockers. Work is slated to wrap up in September.

"Our team works incredibly hard every day," Tracy says. "They are the key to Dot's success, and I can't thank them enough for all they do. We are always looking for new ways to set Dot apart and better serve our employees. Making their work environment a space they enjoy is one way we can do that."

Local contractors working on the project include Gunn Construction, Camp Point, Ill.; and Brown Electric, Watterkotte Construction, Inc., Peters Heating & Cooling, Vinson & Sill Plumbing, Rees Construction and Shortridge Construction, all of Quincy, Ill. 

Dot will break ground on its eleventh distribution center in Bullhead City, Ariz., in early April.