Remember Zotz Fizzy Cherry candies? What about root beer barrels? Watermelon gum? Ooooh… what about Garbage Can-dy? Classics all. And surely you have your own. We were all kids once. Tastes may change, but memories don’t.
In the same way that certain songs can evoke powerful memories, so can specific flavors. Recalling a favorite candy from our youth, or remembering a group of friends who all shared an affinity for a certain soft drink can take us back. Even as adults, we can attest to the good times and smiles associated with enjoying a go-to Ben and Jerry’s ice cream.
Callisons knows exactly the power of its wares. Founded in 1903 and headquartered in Lacey, Washington, Callisons today develops flavors for confections, beverages and a variety of other products. Their Cincinnati location boasts a team of “flavorists” whose job it is to devise the tastes that make drinks, gum, candy and other goods distinctive and memorable.
Repurposing with Purpose
The first step in establishing a footprint in the Queen City was finding a place to call home. Callisons did that with the purchase of a 10,500 square foot building that formerly housed an IT company. They engaged a cadre of professionals to help them transform the space into offices and labs. For the laboratory storage specifically, Patterson Pope was brought into the mix.
“I’d worked with some flavor companies before, so I had a pretty good understanding of what those facilities would require to be successful,” said Rich Schemenaur, the Patterson Pope sales representative on the project. “Their flavorists are creative people, and they needed to have ready access to a variety of ingredients when working on something new.”
Callisons’ Chief Business Development Officer Bob Motta knew from the outset that the new labs’ requirements were specific.
“We utilize a lot of different materials, and we need a rugged work surface that can put up with a good amount of use,” said Motta. “Our various labs have different purposes – in one, we mix ingredients to come up with the different flavors. In another, we make beverages. And in a third, we do a lot of confectionary work. While they all have slightly different purposes, what’s common to all three of them is the flexibility needed for the work surface. Plus, it’s got to be comfortable for the workers. Ergonomics was a big part of the consideration.”
After purchasing the building, Callisons tore it down to its bare bones and started the interior rebuild from near scratch. Only an original conference room remained. In fact, during the renovation, that conference room became the central workspace for company employees. Later, trailers were added temporarily to the parking lot. The faster those inconveniences could be alleviated, the better.
“I’m big on photos,” said Schemenaur. “For this project, I took more than 300 throughout the process. I have photos from the day I first met with the Callisons team to the day installation was complete. It’s a great way to record what we did and show the process in action.”
Schemenaur’s experience doing installations at similar labs helped him prepare for Callisons’ approach. That expertise, combined with valuable insights from key company players made crafting the custom solution a pleasurable experience.
“The three most critical aspects of this project were the large, flat work surfaces; adding an adequate number of drawers with framework shelving above them; and our ability to do some things we had never done before,” continued Schemenaur “In the beverage lab, for instance, we created chases (i.e., framed, enclosed channels) around three of the four perimeter walls, which made it that much easier to run water and electricity. To accommodate these, we kept the counters at a conventional 30” depth, but made the cabinets underneath front-aligned but just 24” deep. It really turned out nicely.”
Just the Right Mix
“It was a pretty cool project,” said Motta. “I was happy to have the right kind of help from professionals who knew what they were doing. I certainly count Patterson Pope in that mix. They took a holistic approach. They had to coordinate all of their efforts with a lot of other subcontractors. It was a well-managed project; it was pretty seamless. Patterson Pope delivered.”
Motta pointed out that there are four people working in the company’s flavor lab, one to two in the confectionary lab, and another pair in the beverage lab. In addition, all three of the labs sometimes accommodate up to ten people during tastings. In the flavor lab, ingredients like citrus oils, vanilla extracts, and other essential oils like mint are used to create new tastes. Since Callisons’ clients like to be able to “sample” the flavors in a generic product, the confectionary lab and the beverage lab are where those flavors are melded with generic “product,” giving a sense of what a finished product might actually taste like.
“We’ve got a lot of equipment in there,” said Motta. “Our labs store different things, so the storage had to be significant. Our samples are usually in bottles measuring one ounce, 1½ ounces or three ounces. And of course, we also store large five-gallon containers for things like sugar and other bulk ingredients.”
“This was such a great project to work on from start to finish,” added Schemenaur. “It really is true: being able to build strong relationships and having open communication really makes a positive difference. Our involvement with the Callisons project was about 10 months, and we enjoyed every minute of it.”
“Rich even came back at one point with a marker talking about how we could fix things if we scratched anything,” said Motta. “What I really noticed throughout was the care they took to do things right and their incredible attention to detail. They were involved. They cared.”
Motta added that he and his team purposely designed their labs with adequate space in mind.
“We created a lot of room to work; a lot of bench space. Patterson Pope took what we had said verbally and made it a reality. Their ability to work that conversion, if you will, was really spectacular. If you need lab help, they’re great. I’ve worked in a lot of flavor-oriented companies before, and I don’t remember the labs ever being a point of note. These are.”
Even after more than a century, Callisons is growing. There are new flavors being created all the time. There may come a day when the company opts to add high-density compact shelving to the mix – a terrific option for storing some of those small containers of burgeoning “favorite flavors.” If that day comes, Patterson Pope is ready to lend a hand.
We’ve got good taste.
To find out more about this project, check out the Case Study.
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