Dot Foods celebrated the official grand opening of a major expansion of its corporate headquarters in Mt. Sterling, Ill. The 60,000-square-foot addition sits at the north end of Dot's existing office structure at 1 Dot Way. The $14.2 million project also includes 125,000 square feet of outdoor/green space.  

"This is not your average office," says Joe Tracy, chief executive officer. "We designed this space to make employees more comfortable in the time they spend at work each day and give them tools to encourage more collaboration."

The expansion is now home to approximately 225 employees, many of whom relocated from the Dot Foods facility on the west side of Mt. Sterling on Buckhorn Road. The company's accounts receivable, customer service/development, center for career development and meeting teams are based out of the expansion. The new office space includes 200 cubicles, 25 offices and a dozen meeting rooms. There are outdoor patios on both the first and second floors, an auditorium that accommodates 125 people, an outdoor pavilion and walking trails for employees. This is the third expansion of Dot's main campus, which originally opened in 1988.

This project incorporates low cubicle walls and light colors in the design to help make space more open and bright. Meeting rooms of various sizes and soft seating areas allow for work on collaborative projects, and alternative work space is incorporated. There are designated quiet areas, a commuter space for employees from other Dot locations or those who are not in the office full-time, a coffee bar and a mother's room for nursing mothers.

"We want to do what we can to create an environment that offers options and addresses the needs of all our employees," Tracy says. "The expansion is a reflection of the growth we've been fortunate to experience, but we also wanted it to honor the history of our business. Each of the meeting spaces in the expansion is themed to reflect a facet of our story—the Dorothy Room, after my mom, Dot Foods co-founder Dorothy Tracy. We've also included some of her favorite flowers and trees in the landscaping. The Yates room is named after our longest-tenured employee, Jerry Yates, who spearheaded the transportation side of our business. The Hub is an homage to the Mt. Sterling warehouse that serves as the hub in our system of distribution centers."

The new space also includes a full commercial kitchen, designed for presentation. Customers will have the opportunity to work with Dot's corporate chef for a firsthand look at the company's product offering in action. Local vendors Comstock Castle, Inc., Quincy, Ill., and Craig Industries, Quincy, Ill., donated equipment for the Culinary Innovation Center.

The other major change incorporated into the new space is a new locker room for the dry warehouse team and a shared break room facility for dry warehouse and office employees. Modeled after a restaurant layout, the break room includes a variety of seating and more entertainment options like ping pong and pool tables. The community space gives friends and family who work in different departments the opportunity to share a meal while on the clock.

"How best can we maintain Dot's unique culture?" Tracy says. "We're currently in an incredibly competitive talent market. We have to keep thinking creatively and doing what we can to show our employees how much we care about them. That is what has set Dot apart for nearly 60 years and what will be the key to our future success."

Local contractors working on the project include Brown Electric, Quincy, Ill.; Waterkotte Construction, Inc., Quincy, Ill.; Peters Heating & Cooling, Quincy, Ill.; Vinson & Sill Plumbing, Lima, Ill.; Rees Construction, Quincy, Ill.; Gunn Construction, Camp Point, Ill.; Shortridge Construction, Quincy, Ill.; Don Waterkotte & Sons, Quincy, Ill.; Moore's Floors, Quincy, Ill.; Classique Signs and Engraving, Quincy, Ill.; Klingner Geotechnics, Quincy, Ill.; Mr. K's Fabric Shop, Quincy, Ill.; Resource One, Springfield, Ill.; Bergman Nurseries, Quincy, Ill.; Mid States Door and Hardware, Quincy, Ill.; A.H. Kemner & Sons, Quincy, Ill.; and Custom Glass and Glazing, Quincy, Ill.