MINDSET Showroom Helps Clients Think Beyond the Traditional
Writer / Renee Larr
Photographer / Robby Berry
Sometimes a change in mindset is all it takes for creativity to happen – at least according to Mary Beth Oakes.
The leaders at Business Furniture + Choreo opened the 4,000-square-foot MINDSET showroom in Fishers in March. Oakes is the CEO and owner of Business Furniture, as well as the CEO and co-owner of sister company Choreo with Patty Clark.
“Business Furniture has been around for almost 100 years,” Oakes says. “We’re passionate about creating spaces that help people to do their best work, no matter what it is. That’s what we believe in doing.”
In 2008 Oakes and Clark started Choreo.
“Choreo is all about workplace strategy,” Oakes says. “It’s a companion to Business Furniture. We recently merged the two brands even though they’re separate companies.”
Oakes created MINDSET to help people think beyond traditional office concepts, and shift the mindset of those planning their spaces.
“We had a client that, after some basic planning, realized they had plenty of workstations and cubicles but no places where a group could come together and make innovation happen,” Oakes says. “It got me thinking, ‘What if we started thinking about those group areas first?’ We wanted to focus on areas where people could collaborate and then shift back to the individual workstations.”
Oakes chose Fishers for the showroom because of the booming business industry.
“We chose Fishers because we just feel like Fishers is a hotbed of great activity right now,” Oakes says. “Small, medium and large companies that are forward-thinking are all coming to Fishers. We wanted to be a part of that, and we believe so much in Fishers.”
With shutdowns related to the COVID-19 pandemic causing many people to work from home, Oakes had to shift her mindset once again.
“We started thinking about what it’s going to look like when employees finally do go back to an office,” Oakes says. “We wanted to figure out how we give people a more comforting experience, similar to working at home. It’s designed to be a space to get people to think outside the box, not necessarily to emulate identically. We want people to use it as a space where they can brainstorm and think about what makes the most sense for their space, and how they can help their employees to have the very best experience when they come back.”
The showroom serves not only as an inspiration for creating spaces, but also a community resource.
“We wanted the space to be a place where creativity comes to life,” Oakes says. “We intentionally added an 8’ round table in the center of the space where groups can have roundtable discussions. We want to share the space with the Fishers business community. You’re trying to think outside the box – it helps if you can be in a different environment to help you to shift your mindset.”