Some Like It Hot

Furnished With Profits

Workplace Interiors LLC
Robert Blomstrom and Brooke Jones-Blomstrom

It's one thing to create a business's physical workspace, which Workplace Interiors LLC does very well. It's quite another to build the internal character of a business, and that's where it excels. Workplace Interiors, a full-service office furniture dealership founded by husband-and-wife team Robert Blomstrom and Brooke Jones-Blomstrom, has achieved the 11th spot on the 2001 Hot 100 listing with its fast growth and stunning success. Founded in 1999, Workplace Interiors has grown from first-year sales of $3.7 million to 2000 sales of $21 million, with 2001 projections hovering around the $35 million area.

To what do the Blomstroms attribute their success? Is it their ability to combine creative and technical thinking? It might be their uncommon office environment, where their 37 employees enjoy flextime, profit-sharing and lots of support. Or it may be the strong family atmosphere, with Robert's sister, Sally Blomstrom, joining her brother and sister-in-law in the running of the company. The real secret: "We have fabulous people," says Sally, 43. "Our organization is the people."

The company's devotion to human resources allows it to thrive in a fiercely competitive industry, according to Robert, 44. "Our industry is one where a 12- to 14-hour day is the rule, not the exception," he says. Having a bright, focused staff at Workplace Interiors means everybody works shorter hours while getting a lot more done-allowing them to enjoy more nonwork-related time.

The fact that the principals are related and so in sync with each other helps set the bar for efficiency. According to Brooke, 39, their roles are always changing depending on the situation-one zigs where the other zags.

That kind of flexibility is vital to Workplace Interiors. With a headquarters in Irvine, California, and branches in Los Angeles; Solana Beach, California; and Ventura, California, multitasking isn't the exception-it's the rule.

-By Nichole L. Torres

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This article was originally published in the June 2001 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Some Like It Hot.

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