Nothing But Net! April’s Clickstop Experience

We have a lot of awesome employees at Clickstop.

Actually, we have so many great people, we often hear from employees that their co-workers are the best part about their job. How amazing to be part of a workplace that has such high amounts of camaraderie.  When you find a career that allows you to feel accomplished in your work AND be surrounded by people you like, you hold that close. It is definitely something special at Clickstop. With so many high achievers here, it is hard to decide who to write a blog post about next! (a good problem to have if you ask me.) But not to worry, this time another Clickstop employee suggested we feature April Kress!

When we think about hard working team players, April definitely fits the bill.

April started at Clickstop in August 2016. “I was looking for a new opportunity and my “cousin” Austin Dopp (one of our talented sales guys on the Bing team) reached out to tell me Clickstop was hiring.” said April. “I knew a couple of people that worked here and knew they were happy and really enjoyed the atmosphere. So I decided to give it a shot!”

It was a move we are all happy that April took, because now she is making waves in our manufacturing department, specifically on the cargo net team.

“April always has a great attitude. She loves to see the team succeed and is a huge contributor to our overall goals of the team and company.” said Dean Vrba. As a long time member of the cargo net team, Dean works with April closely. “April is someone who Promotes a Winning Team Spirit as she works throughout the day. She believes in working hard and playing hard, making her the kind of employee Clickstop wants, that the cargo net team wants.”

April’s biggest goals at Clickstop are to learn, keep meeting goals, and to keep growing. These goals shined bright at the beginning of the year when she was working on a unique cargo net for one of our customers.

Nothing But Net!

In early 2017, the cargo net team had one of their biggest nets to sew yet.  The team was tasked in making a 26′ x 22′ net for a company that specializes in creating obstacle courses for fitness.  This net was a challenge that April was up for. The net ended up weighing about 180 lbs.

“The biggest challenge was the weight of the net – I broke 3 or 4 needles just because it was so heavy.” said April. But what a feeling to get it all completed and shipped out. “I was relieved once it was finished; I felt very accomplished. But most of all, I wanted it just to be shipped out of here!”

“I was very confident in April.” said Dean. “April had been sewing plenty of stock nets, so she had the confidence. In my mind she was ready for a bigger challenge. With the help of Holly, we gave her positive support, so she was not going to fail.”

Be Adventurous – Embrace and Drive Change

April is a big proponent of the core value Be Adventurous – Embrace and Drive Change. When she got this huge order to sew, she knew being adventurous was part of taking on such a massive challenge.  “Change is  good and life is easier if you roll with the punches. Changes bring great opportunities!”

As a company that wants to see employees grow and reach further than they thought possible, it is very exciting to see people like April step up. We love to see employees learn, set and meet goals, and just become better versions of themselves. Without those who Think Big and Make it Happen, Embrace and Drive Change, or Promote a Winning Team Spirit, we would not be where we are today. Finally, we asked April where she sees herself in five years.

“Hopefully still working with a great team like Cargo Nets, and possibly in a new role – five years is a long time but I will definitely still be within the company. Who knows where we will be by then!”

Clickstop Building Construction Update

Clickstop Building Construction Update

We are getting SO CLOSE to being completed with our building expansion.

So close!

But no matter how close it is, there is still a lot of work that is happening right now. We can hear the construction throughout the building, smell the sometimes not so pleasant smells, and see changes happening every day. Dare I say the count down has begun? Maybe not quite yet, but I can barely contain my excitement. So let’s dive right in and show you some of the most recent changes!

 

The kitchen construction is really coming together!

The kitchen with a full service counter.

The kitchen wall has opened up to the bistro.

As you can see, the equipment is almost completely installed in the kitchen. Chef Zach is truly counting down the days to occupancy.  On the left is the salad and soup bar, the right is the full service line, and if we were to do a 180, you would see the beverage bar, and a (healthy) dessert bar. This space will lead out to the grand room, or if you went through the brand new opening (that area in the center that is in plastic) you will be in our current bistro.

Right now, the space smells dusty and drywally (is that even a word?) but soon we will be smelling hot soups, freshly grilled lunches, healthy sides.

 

The Pub is taking shape!

This is looking so cool! At the end of our grand room, there will be a pub! If you look carefully, you can see where the booths will be going in along the back wall of the space. There will be windows all around, and a really dark, moody, atmosphere within. This will be a great space for socializing, eating lunch, or even to have team meetings. This is a really unique feature of the building we are excited about.

You will also notice some stairs in the upper left hand corner of the photos, outside of the pub walls. The construction on the stairs started last week. This is our second set of stairs leading to the second floor. There is also an elevator that was installed as well.

 

The Grand Room stage is almost complete!

This is looking so cool, and is one of the things that I get excited to see finishing touches happen on during construction. As you can see, we have this cool wood plank around the TV wall on the stage. That wood has been tied into the steps leading up to the stage, the outside of the sky box, and the railing along the second floor.

With that big wall of tvs, and the audio being wired throughout, employees will be able to sit upstairs or down on the main floor during meetings.

There will be a lot of natural lighting throughout the building.

As you can see, the natural lighting really brightens up the space, even in the areas with darker walls. In the left hand picture, you can see the side of the sky box on the left. The right hand picture shows the hall to the locker rooms, therapy room, game room, laundry room, and the new Technology space. Outside of the photo frame to the right, is the atrium, which also lets in a ton of light.

 

Did someone say Therapy room? I thought this was a top workplace?!

The therapy room has a nice calming grey color to help relax employees.

The therapy room has a nice calming grey color to help relax employees.

Yep! You heard right, a therapy room! But this therapy room is going to be mainly used for massages! Every month Clickstop has a massage therapist on site so employees can purchase 15 or 30 minute massages. Nothing says relax and be happy like this in the middle of the day! We currently have to do these in a conference room, which is in a high traffic area. Not that relaxing! This space will be perfect for those moments of deep relaxation. Additionally, it will double as a room that we can do wellness exams or weigh ins during our thrive competitions!

 

Speaking of wellness, the gym floor is being installed!

The last time you saw the gym, it was a bit of a mess. Well look at it now! The gym floor is being installed and soon it will be in its final stages of completion! Although we really appreciate that we have had a small workout facility the past five years at Clickstop, we are anxiously awaiting this larger, ventilated, and non-carpeted area to work out in. We LOVE that Clickstop looks out for our physical well-being!

 

Holy Smokes! THAT is what we call a patio!

The giant patio has been poured.

The GIANT patio has been poured. Now we just need grass instead of all that mud!

Looking out the gym windows, you will notice a LOT of mud. But look closer, there is a slab of cement out there! That is our new patio! Wait. Strike that. This is our new MASSIVE patio! I can already see employees enjoying their lunch outside, competing in wellness activities, playing bags, and even shooting some hoops. Who knows exactly how we will utilize this space, but the options are endless!

So there you have it, a quick look at our construction progress. Make sure to check back in the next few weeks to see even more finishing touches!

Meet our Technology Team!

Meet our Technology Team!

We have many teams through out the company. Marketing, Sales, Finance, Manufacturing, Shipping, LTL, Purchasing… The list goes on.  But there is one team that sticks out because it has some of the funniest and quirkiest people in the company. Our Technology team. The team consists of five guys, all completely different from each other, but with one commonality, they are technology nerds.

We wanted to get to know them a little bit and find out what they find rewarding about their career, what they like about Clickstop, and what they look for in a co-worker. First though, let’s introduce you to the guys!

Technology Team

From left to right; Wesley, Tom, Ben, Keith, and Brad

 

Tom Altman – VP of Technology – 6.5 years

Wesley McElwee – Web Developer – 3 years

Keith Shaffer – Web Developer – 2 Years

Ben Heims – Project Coordinator – 1.5 years

Brad Jackson – Senior Developer – Just shy of 1 year

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Planning for Your Future – Career and College Fair

Planning for Your Future – Career and College Fair

Earlier this month, Clickstop had the opportunity to attend the Planning for Your Future – Career and College Fair; hosted by Workplace Learning Connection and Marion High School. Forty Five Workplace Learning Connection business partners and 12 colleges were in attendance, including Clickstop. 200 area high school students and their parents were able to get their questions answered and seek out career opportunities for the students close to graduating.

Clickstop was represented by Sandra and Summer. Sandra works on our Manufacturing team and Summer is part of the Talent Enrichment team. So, let’s find out what they thought of the experience.

Clickstop at Planning for Your Future Career Day

Summer and Sandra getting ready to speak to students at Planning for Your Future

What did you think about your experience at career day?

Sandra: I thought it was awesome! It was the first one I have been to with a company and enjoyed it a lot. We had some pretty great students who asked really well thought out questions and         seemed really interested.

Summer: It was wonderful! The event was very well organized. The students and parents were very engaged and interested in learning about Clickstop. We got asked some great questions and had some awesome conversations.

What advice would you give students who will soon be entering the workforce?

Sandra: I think the best advice given to any high school student or anyone about to enter the workforce is to find something you truly enjoy and to find a company you enjoy working for. The more engaged and connected you are with your company, the more fun and awesome work is going to be. On average, we spend about 30 percent of our life working, so it’s important to find something you’re going to enjoy doing.

Summer: Be curious and be honest. Ask lots of questions, businesses love to see people who are curious and engaged  in what the role is and what the company does. Remember that an interview is two sided; you should be evaluating if the organization is a fit for you, just as they evaluate if you are a fit for them.

What advice would you give someone who is thinking about applying at Clickstop?

Sandra: Be sure to look at and know our core values and our code. Be sure that Clickstop is going to be the right fit. We want to find not only the perfect fit for our company, but for you as well.

Summer: Be yourself. We are looking for people who naturally operate within our values. Be enthusiastic. We are looking for people who want to drive change and create momentum, so seeing applicants that get excited over the task at hand shows the kind of enthusiasm we are looking for.

What type of people does Clickstop look for when hiring?

Sandra: We look for people who are not only going to be incredibly hard working employees but who also follow the code and core values. These factors are important within Clickstop and we want people who value them as well.

Summer: At Clickstop we look for people who align with our values and code, which are extremely important to us. Values coupled with high achievers makes for very fun and fulfilling work!

What is the most rewarding thing about working at Clickstop?

Sandra: The most rewarding thing about Clickstop for me, is knowing there are endless opportunities for those who want them. Clickstop isn’t a company where you have to stay doing the same thing for the rest of your career. If you want to pursue other opportunities they support you 100%.

Summer: Do I have to pick just one? I would say being able to work alongside so many passionate people who are driven to be excellent at what they do.

Meet our Culinary Expert, Chef Zach!

Meet our Culinary Expert, Chef Zach!

When people ask me about Clickstop, they always ask the same questions. What do you guys do there? (We are an e-commerce business that owns and operates 7 online businesses. US Cargo Control is our biggest brand, supplying products we manufacture to truck drivers.) What do you do there? (I work on video, communication, and social media.) And finally, the one people are most shocked about… YOU DRIVE ALL THE WAY TO URBANA TO WORK?!?  Well yes. When you find a place that you fit in, enjoy, and can do what you want for a career, the commute is not that big of a deal.

This is not just the way I feel. This is the way a lot of employees at Clickstop feel. Urbana may not be a thriving metropolis, but it is the town Clickstop is proud to call home. We have employees that commute from Cedar Rapids, Waterloo, Solon, Ely, and even Tama and Guttenberg. That says a lot about the community Clickstop has built in our little corner of Urbana. We are able to attract people all over Iowa because of our reputation as a company that does well by their employees.

With our new expansion, we will also have even more amenities that draw people in. We will have a gym, a game room, and probably the most anticipated, a full kitchen. You see, Urbana does not have a lot of options for places to enjoy your lunch. So, in order to make our employees lives more balanced, nutritious, and convenient, we are launching our new food program, Fuel. We are moving up! The head of Fuel, and a very talented culinary artist, is Chef Zach.

Fuel Food Program

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Clickstop Building Expansion Construction Update

So much can change in just a few short months!

Have you seen our building expansion construction lately? From the outside, not much has changed except the addition of a fresh thick layer of snow. But on the inside, we have made quite a bit of progress! From drywall and doorways, to carpet, flooring and lighting, things are really taking shape. We are expecting to make the big move sometime in April, fingers crossed. But for now, we can just wander over to the building and take photos for all to see. Check it out!

 

Let’s start with a few areas you may have already seen.

The ground floor of the building has been in various stages of construction for awhile. The main office area and offices are pretty much complete. In fact, a few of the rooms already have furniture and will soon have the finishing touches, such as photos and plants. Mitch has been hard at work putting together the furniture one room at a time. As you can see, there are five or so rooms that have pieces of furniture together.  Shout out to Mitch for his hard work, and shout out to Ben and Leslie for making sure to sit on every chair when they were shopping for our furniture. So far, everything is quite comfortable! Our behinds say thanks!

Up Next… The Locker Rooms and Lactation Room

One of the many great things about the new space; there will be plenty of restrooms and locker rooms. Before our expansion started, we only had a ladies and men’s room, one unisex restroom in the warehouse, and two restrooms with showers in the fitness area. And with over 100 employees, we needed more! Well, now we have it! The manufacturing space has their own nice restrooms. The new office space will have another set of restrooms. There will be a set of locker rooms with three private shower stalls, and even be a private lactation room for the new mothers. In case you missed it, we are expecting 8 new little ones in our extended Clickstop family! Check out the blog post here!

Kitchen, Grand Room, and Pub

Chef Zach is getting excited as construction continues! The floor of the kitchen was laid last week. This week, different pieces of the kitchen are being installed. He will soon be out of our bistro and into a real Chef’s Kitchen! We are excited as well, since we miss eating his delicious soups and warm meals. The kitchen is going to have a prep space in the back, a separate room for the freezers and refrigeration, a large area for dishes and cleaning, and a large walk through space with a serving counter, salad bar, beverage station and much more.

When you walk out of the kitchen space, you will walk into the grand room. The grand room will have seating for everyone to enjoy their lunch. At the front of the room is a stage and TV wall for company wide meetings. In the back of the room is our pub. Booth seating and atmosphere! You can enjoy  your lunch in this room, have meetings, or just take a quick break from your day! Though there is a lot of construction that still needs to happen, but with a little imagination, you can see Clickstoppers gathering.

 

Media Room, Game Room, and Gym

These three rooms might be three of the most anticipated spaces! (Well, two of them at least. I am a bit biased on the Media room since I am the videographer.) So let’s start with the Media Room. Long gone will be the days of the cramped tornado shelter! Yep, that is where the media room used to be! At least I knew the cameras were safe during bad weather. Once construction is finished and we move into this space, there will be a separate room for photography. The Media Room will be spacious and have room for growth.

The Game Room… I do not know how else to explain this room other than massive! This room is quite exciting to see come together. We have plans to paint murals on the walls. There will be plenty of seating for relaxing and playing games; A pool table and ping pong table of course. And the rest of the room… you will just have to wait and see!

The Gym is incredibly exciting. We currently have a small gym in our building but this is going to be much more spacious! There will be room for cardio equipment, weight lifting, and even a separate room for working out to videos. No more being self conscious about jumping and dancing around while you work out!

Construction of Everything else!

And here is a look at everything else! We have a lot of conference room space for one on ones, team meetings, and even quick pow wows. The building will have really nice finishing touches as well, including a stone wall, cement planter, lots of plants and natural light. There will be areas to relax and areas to buckle down to really get some work done. Though the construction is still pushing forward, we are getting really anxious to move into the new space.

So there you have it! As you can see, the construction is coming along. Subscribe to our blog, or keep checking back for more updates!