Last year, LPA Retail Systems Inc. President Tim Lano built a Fun Zone for his 15 employees. Inspired by big-tech company offices like Google, Amazon and Apple, Lano wanted his employees to have the same amenities.
“My philosophy is that my job is to provide incredible service, and it’s impossible to provide incredible service without happy and energized employees,” Lano said.
The omni-channel technology provider serves many industries, including gift shops, liquor, corporate stores, lawn and garden, specialty foods, apparel, and sporting goods. LPA Retail’s office space of 6,000 square feet is in Burnsville, and since September 2018, there’s an additional 4,000 square feet for fun and relaxation.
“I have 15 employees, and I allocate 4,000 square feet just for their fun, and any analyst, a CPA would say, ‘That’s silly, Tim, you’re not spending money wisely.’ But I disagree,” Lano said. “People are the most important thing that allow us to move forward.”
Lano has high aspirations for his company. “I believe that if we work hard we can out-Google Google,” he said. “We’re far more agile.”
The new Fun Zone has a small gym, virtual reality technology, a golf simulator, a ping-pong table, a cornhole game, a bar, and a TV lounge with cable packages and a Netflix subscription. The fridge is always stocked with pizzas, and snacks are always available.
One of LPA Retail’s employees is an active marine who uses the gym every morning before work. Other employees will use the space to relax at the end of the work day. Some bring friends to play a round of golf in the winter; some play video games.
“They’ll have a busy day, and then they’ll go up and kill zombies,” Lano said.
However, the space isn’t only used for play. To Lano’s surprise, some employees have meetings in the Fun Zone.
“I thought it was going to be so important to absolutely separate work from play,” he said. “It turned out, I was wrong.”
Lano has been a business owner for 28 years, and he is seeing this space make a difference: “I’ve never seen my staff so engaged and with a teamwork, one-for-all environment.”