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By Andrew Macdonald
Jim Mills with his firm Office Interiors is outfitting two tenants new to Nova Centre.
Joe Ramia recently opened the high-rise office complex in downtown Halifax, with an expected hotel and the Convention Centre.
Mills won a low bid to supply furnishings to Nova Centre’s two tenants, Grant Thornton and Pepper Financial. A third new tenant is the Bank of Montreal.
“Grant Thornton took a large space in there and we worked on that project, as we did with Pepper Financial,” Mills tells The Macdonald Notebook.
“Grant Thornton took out a much bigger space, while Pepper Financial is new to Halifax, and just ramping up,” adds Mills.
Grant Thornton, a large multi-national accounting firm, has about 200 people working at Nova Centre.
“They started with a clean slate, and completely built out their space on a floor and half at Nova Centre. It’s new designed, a brand new space and all of the office furnishings that goes with it,” says Mills.
“They did use a new modular wall product for their offices and meeting rooms. They used 80 rooms for a modular technology, where, literally, the walls came come down or be moved without much problems.”
Private offices and meeting rooms are still private, using the Enclose panels by Haworth — the line Office Interiors deals with.
There is a new innovation with office furnishings, known as Sit and Stand technology. Having found sitting for a whole workday is not ideal for health, the industry suggests standing for 10 minutes each hour while working at an office station.
“Grant Thornton deployed Sit-Stand (furnishings), for every workspace in their offices,” says Mills.
“Every private office has Sit-Stand technology,” he adds.
“The science behind it is that sitting for a long time is just unhealthy for the human body. And the recommendation is that you should stand 10 minutes per hour,” adds Mills.
“That has a lot of health benefits,” he said, including better blood circulation.
Pepper Financial, which is headquartered in Australia, has also deployed Sit-Stand technology in its new offices.
Office Interiors is on track to record sales of $26 million, but Mills won’t say how much the contracts with Grant Thornton and Peppar are worth.
But he says the average cost of fitting out a person’s office s also sells tall is around $3,500 per unit.
Office Interiors has 210 employees at five storefronts in Atlantic Canada, with half of its business is in the office furnishings, and the other half in office technology, including photocopiers, printers and document software.
Mills is majority owner, and his only business partner nowadays is Keith Skiffington, company chief operating officer. He’s been with Office Interiors since 1998.
“We have service technicians as well and we cover every nook and cranny in the Maritimes.
The stores are in Burnside, Sydney, Moncton, Fredericton and Bathurst.