MOSA's Open House & Grand Re-opening
June 15, 2017 | 4:00pm - 7:00pm | 122 W. Jefferson, Viroqua, WI 54665 | Free
Open House! After six months of remodeling, repainting, and re-furnituring, you are invited to the grand “re-opening” of MOSA! It will be held on Thursday, June 15 from 4:00-7:00 p.m. at our offices at 122 W. Jefferson Street in Viroqua. If you can make your way here we’d love to see you, give you a tour of our offices, and share some light refreshments.
After years of cramped quarters, hand-me-down-falling-apart cubicle walls and office furniture, mismatched and dented filing cabinets, and a confusing public entrance, MOSA has finally revamped our home-away-from-home at 122 W. Jefferson St. in Viroqua, WI. The growth of MOSA’s living quarters has, in many ways, mirrored the growth of the organic industry. We started out in a couple of rooms above a converted barn on founder Dave Engel’s property. In 2003, we moved to renting a suite of offices on Main St. but quickly moved on to a bigger building around the corner from that Main St. abode.
Ten years ago, MOSA had about 850 clients, and fewer than a dozen staff members. That office space we rented? It started with MOSA staff renting a few offices in a portion of the building. Within 5 years, we were renting nearly the entire building. In April of 2016, we purchased the building.
Here we are in spring of 2017: over 2000 clients in 22 states, and 35 full time staff members, 45 contract inspectors, and growing growing growing. In 2012, we began the conversation about improving our “stocking rates.” In other words, how efficiently were we using our space? What were the challenges we were facing in our current space? Would we soon outgrow our newly-purchased building? Should we build a better, more energy-efficient building? Where would we put it? Was it wiser and more fiscally responsible to re-purpose our current building? The wonders of technology mean that more and more staff can work remotely full- or part-time, but it sure is valuable for us to have a physical space to gather together and work, too. What should we do?
After spending a couple of years exploring and discussing myriad options we decided to work with what we have and remodel ourcurrent space. Four years after beginning the discussion, we have created a safer, more efficient and sensible work environment that is both more attractive and more effective. With the new public entrance at the southwest corner of our building, clients who walk in the door know exactly where to go. No more confusion walking into a cramped hallway with three different options about where to go. Our administrative department has their own dedicated area, as do the certification staff, the inspection staff, and the finance staff. With better lighting, more uniform access to windows and natural light, well-planned shared spaces, uniform and safe filing cabinets, and more efficient individual workspaces, we are better able to do the important regulatory work that upholds organic integrity and supports our processors and farmers.
Thanks to the hard work and dedication of many staff members over the years, and to the commitment of Emma Garvin, Inspection Assistant who firmly moved this project to its near-complete state, MOSA can stay in this building for many years and focus on providing you the quality certification services for which we are known. MOSA’s Building Superintendent Kerry “Toad” Thompson led a talented and dedicated crew of contractors through their paces: installing a public restroom, bringing our electrical up to code for a commercial building, improving insulation throughout our building, repairing and replacing broken windows and doors, replacing our 20+ year old carpeting, installing keypad entrance doors, adding closets and hooks for hanging coats, creating a utility closet, moving furnaces, and tearing out the decades-old stairway to nowhere (from when our building had a third floor).
We were able to use all local contractors and purchase Made-in-the-USA. Contractors: Kees Architects (Deb Kees and Kysa Heinitz), Kerry “Toad” Thompson, Fritz Murphy, Zitzner Construction (Aaron, Nick, JP & Brent), Joe’s Electric (Joe Naminski), Gary’s Painting (Gary Mageland), Brye Plumbing, The Furnace Room (Jerry DeLap). Vendors: EBI (Katey Fortun), Spaeth’s, Nelson’s Agri-Center, NuZum’s, and Countertops By Design.
There has been some chaos and mess, as you’d expect with a major remodel, but we are reaping the benefits already of a more organized, efficient, and pleasant space. A huge shout-out goes to all our staff who not only dealt for years with a haphazard office environment, but have been working in an ever-shifting workspace for the past several months. And a special word of appreciation to admin staff who have lugged files and filing cabinets all over creation, and have built up monster muscles doing so. And, finally, thanks to all those clients who have stopped by to drop off paperwork and been so understanding of the jumble.