A few months ago, we moved into our new home — a 30,000 sq. ft., fully solar-powered facility to help take us into the next era of Fracture. It was a huge project — one of the most complicated things we’ve ever done — but it was totally worth it. I thought you might want to take a look back at where we started, and how all of this happened.
The first place that we found was a little office in a pretty traditional business park. It was big enough to have a dedicated space where we could brainstorm and talk through things — more importantly, it was what we could afford.
At some point, the numbers no longer made sense, in terms of us not being able to fit the operation in that little space. Fortunately, in that same business park, the end suite, suite A, seemed to fit our needs. It wasn’t exactly in a glamorous part of town — it wasn’t downtown or anything like that — but it fit what we needed and it was the logical next step. We just picked up our stuff, went over a couple of yards and we were at Suite A. It was the first space that we had that had a clear delineation and separation between office and manufacturing space. In my opinion, that felt like the first real Fracture operation.
When we realized that we were going to get our first institutional investment and we were going to buy our first big printer, that printer would have taken up like a third of that facility. There was no way that the printer could have fit there, so that’s when we realized we would have to move again. There was just physically no space to put the operation in suite A.
The Move Downtown
We immediately started looking and I started working my connections. And that began the story of how we moved downtown. We felt like this could be home for a little while. It never crossed my mind that we’d need a space bigger than this and bigger and better than the initial configuration we had, but in about 2014 we started seeing the writing on the wall. Again, we were growing, the team was growing, and the team was performing better. It was driving in sales that again dictated that our manufacturing operation would have to grow. It was really in 2015, that we started having those thoughts about what the next step would look like.
A couple of years later actually, in 2017, was when we knew we had to grow. We needed to get more production space. As luck would have it, there was a small office space across the street that we could move the office team into and then we could annex the office space that was in our main facility for more production space. We basically kicked out the office team, added more production space, and added another printer. The landlords built out the facility a little bit more and we kept this as home for a couple more years.
Before I knew it, seven years had passed. We had been in this place for almost a decade and we needed to grow again, but this time we had the luxury of being a little bit more thoughtful about how and where we wanted to grow — and just how big of a step we wanted to take. In early 2018, I started on a journey of trying to figure out mentally, physically, and emotionally what the right step was for Fracture moving forward.
The decision crystallized pretty early that I wanted to keep Fracture in Gainesville because we had made it that far and I thought we had made it through the hard part. I felt like we could really take things to the next level. That’s what I wanted to do with the new facility and that’s what drove my vision for the new facility. In the summer of 2019, Fracture moved our entire operation from downtown Gainesville to a new 30,000 square foot facility, right on the outskirts of Gainesville, in Alachua, Florida.
Making the Leap
At a recent all-hands meeting at Fracture, I shared my view that even though we technically only broke ground on this facility about a year ago — which is mind-blowing in its own right (great job, guys) — this project and getting to this point in my view is honestly a decade’s worth of work. It has been a decade of blood, sweat, and tears, a decade of struggles, of doubts and frustrations and insecurities about what we’re doing, if we had what it took, what the next day would bring, and how we’re going to achieve growth.
This wasn’t easy.
Yet here we are. It’s been a decade full of growth and progress as well. I could not be prouder of everything our team has accomplished. To everyone from Fracture, this one’s for you guys. Thank you, with everything I have.
Not Just a Bigger Building
The new facility plays a very strategic role in bringing the team together and allowing us to function both individually and as a group. The biggest way that the facility represents our brand is the fact that you walk through a set of double doors and you walk into this massive 12,500 square foot production floor. Then walk across that floor, walk into a warehouse and then track back and you’re in this really modern contemporary, white-collar office. It’s beautifully laid out, really thoughtful where there’s the distinction, but there’s also integration and that’s a big part of what Fracture is about. We are all-collar, and that’s really reflected in our facility.
We focused tremendously on the value of treading lightly on the planet from the very get-go with the facility, from the most basic of things like our energy source. We’re completely solar-powered, which is huge for us. Things like the construction of the facility, the installation, eliminating the amount of AC we use, all of those things were really thoughtfully integrated into the day-to-day usage of the facility.
Camaraderie is really about being thoughtful and respectful and building good relationships with your coworkers and teammates. With the new facility, we’re just able to have different types of relationships in different spaces in the facility. For coworkers and working on a project together, then you sit down in a collaborative space and work on that project together. If we needed some alone time, if we need some quiet space, the facility allows for that as well. Being able to be here every day with the production team, with our facilities manager on the other side, with our customer support team, it just gives us more of an opportunity to maintain a much higher level of communication and therefore camaraderie.
Fostering creativity starts with what you surround yourself with within the space. Being very thoughtful about designing the space, we wanted to design the space so it inspired a sense of peace to some degree. We wanted the office to be a place that was almost tranquil. We have rooms dedicated to relaxing. I think when you can show your employees that the extra expense put into creating something that’s as beautiful as this, that is relaxing, it helps inspire the whole team.
When you have this much more space to work with, it opens up a lot of options. Efficiency is really all about working smarter, not harder, and that’s our end goal. It’s also about planning for the future. A great example of that is the production manufacturing workspace. We had the opportunity to build out a really optimal workflow where everything was cleanly aligned, to make sure we got out as many units as possible in the current footprint, but we know that we’re going to have to grow in the future. We have the ability to add in some space so that when we need to grow we can just immediately start adding on equipment, labor, materials, et cetera, instead of having to worry about where space is going to come from, which eats into time, money, and efficiency.
I think the most important thing for us to recognize is that it is not over. This is not the end. This is just the beginning. We are not done. Not even close. In my eyes, we’re just getting started. My hope is that this facility will be our platform and our launch pad on which we will truly become a world-class company.
A few people really went above and beyond to make sure this documentary happened. Ronald and Allison from Repaint the Wall played huge roles in making this film. Abhi Lokesh and Chris Reul from our team here really dug deep to help make the film happen. As a member of the Fracture Team since 2014, I’ve watched us go through a lot of changes and milestones and, for all our strengths, we’re not always the best at capturing those important parts of our own story. So I’m proud that for this huge step in our company’s journey, we have this film to serve as a way to remember and celebrate this chapter. – Drew