At Marathon, we take great pride in working with clients on projects of all shapes and sizes. When the University of Missouri askes our “Solutioneers” to deviate from the customary black and gold, one can’t ever be too sure what the response will be.

We were challenged by the customer to provide a fun, collaborative space for students to use. The goal was to take a large space and make it usable and comfortable for smaller groups of student and professionals to use for collaborative purposes. Though housed within the engineering building of Lafferre Hall, the goal is to have the space appeal and be used by other disciplines in conjunction with the Engineering Students.

This space was designed to be used by multiple small groups all at the same time. The Loft Wall partitions are functional and provide writable surfaces for static communication but also provide privacy for smaller meeting rooms while still allowing the overall larger room to be reconfigured rather easily as needed.

LoftWall—moveable partitions with acoustical and whiteboard tiles

Coalesse—Lounge and Café height tables in the lounge spaces. Bob and Potrero tables, Bob, Bindu and SW1 chairs

Steelcase—Lounge and collaboration room seating. B-Free and Cobi

Global—Collaboration & Meeting Rooms—Princeton, Open Office—Princeton, Private Office–Zira


The modern workforce seeks comfortable, inspiring spaces that create a sense of calm and put people at ease – opening the door for creativity to flourish. To adapt to this shift, forward-thinking companies are increasingly developing offices with a residential sensibility in mind. In this month’s news aggregate, we explore the rise of resimercial design.


A combination of “residential” and “commercial,” the resimercial approach brings aspects of home into the contemporary workspace. We named resimercial comfort as a key consideration in our roundup of workplace design trends for this year – and so far, the conversation has only gained momentum.

With today’s “always on” mentality, creating home-like environments – where we truly enjoy spending time – is one way to accommodate the increased demand placed on employees. Retrofit Magazine echoes this sentiment, noting that the line between commercial and residential interiors is disappearing and that resimercial environments help reduce stress and promote productivity. As the dynamics shift in today’s evolving workforce these often overlooked or rigid spaces are vital in the shift toward workplace settings that enhance wellbeing.

The links below dive deeper into the subject of resimercial and how this “trend” is here to stay.


Forum Christian Church

New Administrative offices

Marathon’s Furniture, Design, and Operations divisions were thrilled to partner with Forum Christian Church to design and furnish their new administrative addition. Our team collaborated with WNB Architects and Curtiss-Manes-Schulte, Inc. to update an existing workroom and create a mixture of private offices, touch-down stations, a central collaborative space, and a new reception area. Working closely with Executive Minister Bradley Williams allowed us to implement the church’s blue and grey color scheme while achieving the desired modern aesthetic.

An active member of the Columbia community since 1954, Forum is a growing organization that ministers worship services to an average of 1,300 people per week. The new addition provides workspace for seventeen total staff members, interns, and volunteers, a significant increase from the nine spaces available in the previous location. One of the most exciting inclusions was the communal atrium, now nicknamed “The Hub,” that features lounge furniture, mobile tables, and moveable markerboard partitions to encourage a variety of functions. Since installation, Williams reports the space has been used for formal meetings, “comfortable lounge seating,” a collaborative work area, staff lunch area, and even a space for an impromptu nerf basketball game.


The opportunity to work in such close collaboration with such a terrific client led to a brief impromptu answer session with Project Manager, Sean Zullo, Interior Designer, Rachel Molnar and Forum Christian Church Executive Minister Bradley Williams.

SZ: Is the space what you envisioned it to be?
BW: Absolutely, it was easy to envision the space with the help of accurate and up-to-date renderings.

RM: What is your favorite area of the new space?
BW: My office for sure and a close second is our new communal area
RM: How does this compare to your prior offices?
BW: It doesn’t really compare. It is light years ahead in terms of design and overall feel
SZ: How will your new space benefit your staff & members of the church?
BW: We hope it creates an atmosphere of professionalism and creative collaboration
RM: How do you envision the hub being used?
BW: As the primary meeting space and collaborative work area. It has already been used for so many things
  •        Formal meeting space
  •  Comfortable lounge area
  •        Staff lunch area
  •        Today we had a Nerf basketball game
SZ: Who will be occupying the workspaces and offices?
BW: Staff, Volunteer Staff, Interns
SZ: How many members are in the church?
BW: Average weekly attendance 1300
RM: How long has the church been active in the community?
BW: Since 1954
SZ: # of staff members in the old space vs. new space?
BW:  Old space 9  vs. new space 17
RM: Name of General Contractor and Architecture firm?
BW: Contractor: Curtiss Manes Schulte and WNB Architects
Thank you Forum Christian Church staff members for allowing us to work with you on this project!

Principal Perspective

Principal Perspective

                                                                                                          Missouri Innovation Center

In the December 2017 Issue of Columbia Business Times, Dealer Principal  Frank Sovich and other local industry professionals discuss current office trends,

the future of the American workplace and the impact of design.

(The context below is an excerpt from the December 2017 CBT article “ Trends with Benefits: What’s Cool in Office Design.“)

 Frank Sovich, owner and dealer principal at Marathon Building Environments, refers to part of this trend as “hoteling” or creating “touchdown spaces.” These offices cater to employees who don’t work from a “home base,” so to speak — they may have the option of utilizing a common space for meetings or laptop work, and they may include a locker for their employees’ belongings.

Marathon utilized touchdown design in part of their work with the Missouri Innovation Center, a 3,000-square-foot building for startups. The MIC features a combination of private offices and open, collaborative workspaces.

“In these open, collaborative spaces, there’s more of a casual and residential feeling,” Sovich says. He notes that such a space may include more couches and soft seating than a private workspace typically would.

The open space at the MIC features a picnic table and whiteboards. Other options include everything from booths and couches to traditional desks and chairs, plus lockable cabinets on wheels that double as seating for clients.



You can read the article in its entirety ; .









Steelcase Series 1 offers the highest quality of performance

at a price that is attainable to all:

Introducing the Steelcase Series 1

Held every June at The Mart in Chicago since 1969, NeoCon serves as the commercial design industry’s launch pad for innovation—offering ideas and introductions that shape the built environment today and into the future.

As Steelcase prepared to introduce it’s Series 1 task chair, visitors and spectators alike couldn’t shy away from their showroom, EVERYONE stopped and took notice!

The sleek design, vibrant color combinations, enduring performance, in-depth insight into the ergonomics versatility needed for the ever-changing workplace.



Series 1 offers a wide variety of material, shell color combinations, finish selections, a headrest, and coat rack options that make an impressive statement in any space, while its lightweight, sleek profile makes it versatile for use in any application.

With integrated LiveBack TM technology, adaptive bolstering and 4D-adjustable arms, Series 1 delivers ergonomic performance that supports the employee effortlessly, so they can stay focused on what matters most—the work at hand.

To learn more about the Series 1 and the interworkings of this industry-changing chair click the image below.

Standard Model can be yours for about $325!


   Click the image above to learn more!

If you’re looking for a new chair or any other office related need but aren’t sure where to begin, contact Marathon, and one of our Solutioneers will be happy to help you!

Series 1: Attainable quality, performance, style. Best in class. A new class. By Steelcase.

Jennifer Buchanan

Mandi Winkler




Recently, two of our Pioneer Window Works (a Marathon Building Environments division) professionals Jennifer Buchanan and
Mandi Winkler visited Draper Inc. 

Draper is an American owned manufacturing company in Spiceland, Indiana.  Spiceland, Indiana, a  town of about 800 people located 40 miles east of Indianapolis, Indiana.  Draper has been operating in the same location since 1902.

Draper prides itself on high quality American made roller window shades.

Draper’s new focus is to tackle more custom large-scale projects.  They have grown their custom department with engineers, invested in 3-D printing, and are tackling more architecturally integrated sun control options.  Another area they are growing in is exterior building sun control.  With smart motorized solar control options, they are providing exterior grade shades and aluminum horizontal louvers that attach onto the exterior of buildings.  These shades and louvers are programmed to open or close with the weather and sun location, by providing sun control on the exterior of the building this keeps the heat from ever entering a building therefore creating a more energy efficient building.

We asked both Jennifer and Mandi about their experience and below are their responses:

Did you learn anything new in regards to the existing draper products while you were there?

  • Customization (especially brackets) are available.  Brackets is the actual hardware that hold the shades in place during the installation.  Being able to have these brackets custom (both in sizes and colors) is unheard of in their industry,  This is HUGE!
  • Phifer fabrics (one of their major suppliers and they are USA made)  does more than fabrics – aluminum drawn wire (metalizing wire, cold heading wire & food packaging wire), custom color fabrics, indoor and outdoor fabrics, and more
  • Phifer manufacturing has plants all over the world and the product manufactured in that country stays in that country – Again this is HUGE!

Did they share information about new or upcoming products?

  •  Branding ,website updates, NEW website and new products all coming in 2018.

How was this tour different than others?

  • From the last time we went in 2014 they have grown significantly both footprint / square footage of production plant and new products.  Since 2014, Draper has seen a decrease in AV projection screens and an increase in overall roller window shade sales.  They have adjusted their plant footprint accordingly.  They are also a 24/7 shift operation.

Did anything out of the ordinary stand out?

  • We are really kind of excited about the customization, this will help our team work more efficiently when Draper has the staff to engineer and design something customized to fit our needs.
  • Draper is a family owned business and has been since it started in 1902

Draper still hand paint their components

This represents only a small sample of the 1000s of fabrics that they use for their shades

The shade cutter – these can cut 2 shades at the same time

Inspecting the shades for defects


With the Holidays quickly approaching, we have decided to put together a blog post that has nothing to do with commercial furniture, flooring or window treatments. 

It has to  do with the human spirit and how a small gesture can lift someone up so much that it may save a life.

Here in the college town of Columbia MO, we are as typical as any college town is when it comes to our athletic programs and in this case football.  We meet up for our rituals of tailgating, dressing in our schools colors and cheering on our Tigers…whether win or lose, we are there.

This year our neighbors to the north, the University of Iowa, has started a new tradition of paying tribute to the children that are patients in the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital.  The top floor of children’s hospital looks directly down onto Kinnick Stadium.

Starting this year, by the suggestion of a mother of 3 from the small town of Anita, IA, at the end of the 1st quarter all the Iowa fans, Hawkeye football players and staff take a moment and wave to the patients on the 12 floor.  Even the visiting teams have joined in on this new tradition, most recently Urban Meyer and The Ohio State Buckeyes.

Please read the attached recent article from USAToday…and just a quick word of warning, you are going to need some Kleenex.

So when you see someone feeling a little low, remember that a small gesture (a smile or in this case a simple wave) could literally change a life.

Please feel free to share this story – It is AWESOME!


Toronto is beautiful in the fall.

During the late days of summer and the early fall, Toronto is beautiful.  Recently, a few Marathon Building Environments team members had the opportunity to travel to Toronto and visit one of the main vendors, Global (aka The Global Furniture Group).  The Global Furniture Group’s origins date back to 1966, when it was founded with the basic objective of manufacturing well-made office furniture at affordable prices. That mission continues today through a network of vertically integrated suppliers, manufacturers, marketers and distributors. Global offers a very broad range of office products and services designed to meet the needs of today’s changing workplace.  Their diverse workforce is made up of employees who come from many countries, and who take pride in making quality products that are sold throughout the world.  While at Global, we visited their World Headquarters, their fabric sewing  facility, their seating facility and test lab, their Recycling building (which is incredible) and all of their showrooms within the Headquarters, we even got to go to a Toronto Blue jays baseball game!.

Our Tour Guides, led by Tom Jones (St. Louis/Columbia Sales Rep) and Jill Alberico (Toronto Training Manager) were outstanding!

Below are pictures and a brief synopsis of each department we visited.  Each section is written by a different Marathon Team Members and their own perspective of that Department.

  • Cut and Sew facility – Samantha Boman – Marathon Designer
  • Seating Facility – Jessica Chester – Marathon Designer
  • Furniture Testing  Lab – Rachel  Molnar – Marathon Designer
  • Filing Facility – Jeremy Henry – Marathon Furniture Sales
  • The Recycling Center – Sean Zullo – Marathon Furniture Sales
  • Healthcare Furniture – Samantha Boman – Marathon Designer

Cut & Sew Facility:

We started our  tour  at Global Headquarters in Toronto in their Cut and Sew factory.  This is where all of the graded in and COM (customer’s own material) fabrics are brought to be cut and sewn for upholstered pieces.  A number of technological advances were used to streamline the manufacturing PROcess (pronounced like a true Canadian), including computerized shears which calculated how to get the most use out of a single piece of fabric.  Once fabric was cut, it traveled throughout the factory on an assembly line until it reached the best seamstress for that particular order.  During this stage in production is when, finite details such as sealed seams, would be implemented.  These details would later ensure product success for their intended environment.  For instance, sealed seams includes the sealing of the back of a seam with a specially designed tape to reduce the likelihood of seams opening.  This also provides additional protection against moisture seepage and prevents insects from entering the product through the stich holes and seams, which is essential in the healthcare sphere.

“Being a designer, I was infatuated with the amount and variety of fabric being stored and prepared at this facility.  I loved watching how quickly and efficiently every seamstress was able to complete a task.  The number of sewing machines in operation was truly amazing.  Not to mention the smell of the leather room.  (Holy cow!)  Not only was it cool to see how the machines determined how to get the most out of each piece of fabric, but all of the scrap fabric was saved and then recycled as well!” – Samantha Boman, Interior Designer & Account Manager

Seating Facility:

With its history being rooted in the belief that an office chair should be accessible to the masses, and a reputation for being the “cheap and cheerful chair company” a visit to the Global Seating Factory seemed in order. The tour began much as could be expected, with the production line of chair backs, injected molded through huge machines and sent on down the line to receive foam and fabric. Chair frame parts, hanging from above, and moving on a conveyor from station to station, receiving all essential parts as it progressed. Our first respite was within the hall of fabrics, COM’s all on one side, and standard program offering on the other. An interest grabber for the designer’s heart for sure! Here we learned all about the storage and receipt of fabrics, order lead times, and about how MOM’s are the most important! Moving through the factory, the dedication of each worker was truly humbling, not a chair moves through the production line without a personal touch by at least a dozen workers, each taking pride in their small contribution. Hand scraping the edges of over flow of poly chair backs, even taking a hard line in the back handle hold to ensure every edge that a customer touches is smooth. Or inlaying a metal connection within a plastic chair back so that when the frame is connected the result is an extremely strong, metal to metal connection, ensuring that the chair out-performs its required duty. We dipped our hands into huge boxes full of $30,000 worth of small raw poly material, and dug through giant boxes of leather remnants. There are so many steps that provide the details we as designers and consumers have come to expect from a chair. And so many different styles of chairs: Lounge, Task, Side, Conference, Collaborative, Stools, stacking, not stacking, upholstered, plastic back…….chairs, each ordered to our exact specifications. And we receive them all, in perfect condition, wrapped snugly in a plastic wrapped box, just as if they had always been that way.
Jessica Chester, Interior Designer & Account Manager

Global Team Member manipulates fabric during seat assembly

Global Furniture Testing Lab:

Why is testing necessary for commercial furniture?

The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) identifies organizations qualified to create and maintain standard guidelines for the business sector, thereby ensuring the safety and health of consumers. Among the accredited establishments is the Business & Institutional Furniture Manufacturers Association (BIFMA) that outlines safety and performance benchmarks for the commercial furniture industry. Representatives from a number of the most prominent manufacturers are directly involved with BIFMA as members of the board of directors, including Joel Feldberg, President and CEO of The Global Furniture Group. While these standards are voluntary, an ANSI/BIFMA certification indicates that the product has passed extensive testing for minimum safety, durability, and sustainability requirements.

The entire Global product line is tested to meet or exceed ANSI/BIFMA guidelines, along with other international rating systems. It was incredible to see how much thought, care, and ingenuity went into constructing the testing equipment. While the standards are outlined, how to go about having product tested is left to each testing facility.  The manager of the lab was excited to share how he and his team developed different solutions for implementing the various types of testing required for each product.  Each piece of testing equipment was designed and built at this facility, by the team alone.

“It was fascinating to see this lab’s solutions as well as see multiple types of testing in progress while visiting this facility.  Knowing how much effort is put forth during testing as well as how closely Global abides by the voluntary guidelines, to ensure a safe and reliable product has only increased my confidence in the quality of Global manufacturing.”
Rachel Molnar, Interior Design Badass

Filing Facilty:

Recently several members of the Marathon Building Environments team had the unique opportunity to tour the Global Furniture Group steel manufacturing plant. In this factory, they produce steel vertical files, lateral files, storage cabinets, bookcases and desks. In addition, they produce special request steel furniture for the office on an as needed basis. The chance to see how these were made was a marvel of modern manufacturing technique indeed! Being able to see how a multi ton roll of steel was rolled out, precision laser cut and molded into a piece of furniture was a sight to behold. Once the larger pieces were cut and folded into what could be discernible as a future finished product we were able to see how even the smallest pieces were uniformly cut and formed to create handles, drawer fronts and drawer slides that would each then be attached to the product. Once assembled the nearly completed products were placed on an overhead conveyor that would take them to a precision paint facility to finish it off in the desired color. At each point along the way, the items were checked for quality and proper fit. At one end of the factory was a raw material and at the other were a multitude of finished products ready for a lifetime of use.
Jeremy Henry, Account Executive – Furniture



The Global Recycling Center:

Long before it was fashionable, RT Plastics and Global Furniture partnered to help customers reduce their environmental impact – as well as their costs – through the sustainable manufacturing of high quality injection molded plastics from recycled materials.  These materials consist of wood remnants, defective plastic products, blue box recycling (U.S based materials) and water bottle caps.  The opportunity to see this step by step process initiated by a multi-national mass manufacturer increased our understanding and appreciation for products in which they produced.  During our tour of the Global Furniture Group campus and manufacturing plants, it was made apparent the, “LAW,” was to keep the planet in mind.  Global employees are encouraged to think about Land, Air, and Water sustainability during the manufacturing process.  In today’s throwaway society, consumers continue to create deeply embedded carbon foot prints without a notion of, “how to reduce and sustainably impact the planet.”

“It was educational and cognitively stimulating to see such a large manufacturer have zero percent waste to landfill.  For a company of over 4.000 employees, to be able to say that they have diverted eleven tons of waste going to landfill is truly awe inspiring.”
Sean Zullo, Account Executive – Furniture

Healthcare Furnishings:

In addition to producing office furniture, Global offers an extensive healthcare product line including furniture for waiting rooms, patient rooms, extended care, and senior living facilities.  These products are often considered heavy duty areas, meaning they are designed for multiple shift environments (24 hours a day/7 days a week) and are weight tested up to 350 pounds or even 500 pounds depending.  Multiple products in this line are constructed of 100% field replaceable parts so that facility maintenance teams can easily repair items without completely removing them from patient use.  Global’s consistent consideration for the patient as well as the care giver can be understood in the design, engineering, and construction in the products developed for the healthcare market.  They use features such as moisture barrier’s, bed bug resistance, sealed seams, contraband proof, and additional weight to ensure the safety of those individuals that would be using the products regularly.

“I found it really heartwarming that Global took such a care and interest in individuals that share all perspectives of the healthcare environment.  Many times, those who are in these spaces are in a vulnerable state and it is extremely important that the furniture in these areas supports not only comfort for the patient, but ease of maintenance and use for the staff.”
Samantha Boman, Interior Designer & Account Manager

Sleepy Sean in a Healthcare Recliner – Sean is so happy and comfortable that he is smiling!


Marathon has recently been able to purchase some outstanding JSI and Kimball traditional office suites. Our pre-owned furniture is in excellent condition, and can be delivered and installed at your convenience.

These JSI and Kimball office suite furniture items are finished with a Brighton Cherry wood veneer.

We have both left and right desks and return.

Priced to sell

“L” Desk units = $1495.00 each
2-drawer lateral file =$450 each
Credenza = $500
Conference Table = $995

See our pre-owned JSI and Kimball office suite furniture


Steelcase researches everything prior to creating any of their incredible pieces of furniture.  Currently they have been researching how the office and people work in today’s tech savvy world.  Needless to say, the lines are blurry and Steelcase is leading the way on making things a bit more clearer.

Below is a recent article from the Steelcase 360 publication.

State of Work: Blur the Edges

Blur the Lines
Smart devices let us work anywhere. The cloud keeps information with us wherever we go. And, mobile work policies allow more and more people to choose where they want to work. But, there’s a tension bubbling up within organizations. A recent NPR report says employers are rethinking telework. They want their people to come together to collaborate, innovate, build culture and drive business forward.Organizations such as IBM, Bank of America and Aetna have asked some of their mobile workers to return to the office, according to the Wall Street Journal. Most organizations recognize that innovation and ingenuity stem from teamwork. Collaboration energizes people. By working together, employees come up with new and better ideas and discover how to streamline processes and improve output.A 2017 Gallup report revealed the most engaged employees spend 60 to 80 percent of their time working away from the office. People at work report a lack of collaboration spaces to help them be creative, frequent noise disruptions while working and an inability to effectively communicate creative ideas to coworkers. People are leaving the office because they don’t have the right places to get work done. It is time to redefine what the office means and create workplaces that inspire and that people want to work in.


State of Work: Blur the Edges
A 360 Real Time Podcast on what’s driving and disrupting today’s workplace.

Office Renaissance


Four key drivers and disrupters are fueling changes within organizations today.


Cultural changes can be gradual or abrupt. A few factors are adding to the cultural shift many are witnessing around the world.

Diversity – Organizations often have four or five generations working together in one place. In addition, people are connecting with others from around the world more than ever before. People look, sound and work differently creating a rich tapestry of ideas.

Biophilia – Humans seek out connections to nature. They are drawn to places with biophilic design elements found to be building blocks of emotional, cognitive and physical wellbeing. Expressions of nature can be overt such as bringing in plants, wood or other natural elements, or they may be more nuanced such as patterns within fabric.

Personalization – The maker movement has had an impact on how people work and connect to the environment. People are increasingly looking for bespoke experiences at work. Organizations that reflect a unique brand and culture are able to express the values that set them apart.

Purpose – Whether someone is a baby boomer or a millennial, no one wants to feel like a cog in the wheel. People are looking for more than a paycheck. They want to do work that has a sense of purpose and meaning.


Employee engagement continues to be a critical bottom-line business issue for organizations.

The Steelcase Global Report: Engagement and the Global Workplace shows one-third of workers in 20 of the world’s most important economies are disengaged. Another one-third are somewhere in the middle, neither hurting their companies nor driving them forward. Research says engaged employees lead to better business results.

The Global Report, conducted with global research firm Ipsos, is the first study to look at how the work environment impacts employee engagement. A clear pattern emerged: More highly engaged workers were also more highly satisfied with their workplace. In addition, they had more choice and control over how and where they got their work done.

State of Work


Technology is a game changer, disrupting many business models and driving others to new levels.

Laptops, tablets and phones allow us to move fluidly throughout the day. Larger, more fixed devices allow us to visualize an array of information and collaborate with others. Throughout the day, we need to manage how our information and ideas can move with us seamlessly, regardless of the device we are using.

Technology will impact the future of work in ways we are only beginning to understand. Technologies can be embedded within the workplace to help people work better and help organizations create places people love to work in. (Read Driving the Wellbeing of People)

In addition, virtual reality, augmented reality and artificial intelligence are all starting to impact people’s experiences at work. There’s a tremendous amount of angst around what will happen as machines are able to do more jobs typically reserved for humans.


A common belief is machines will take over rote, process tasks and allow humans to do more meaningful work. We’re already seeing a shift toward creative work.

“In order to survive in today’s complex world, organizations need to generate, embrace and execute on new ideas. That takes creativity and a creatively capable workforce,”

TIM BROWNCEO of IDEO and Steelcase board member

People tend to agree with Brown. Seventy-seven percent say creativity is a critical job skill. Yet, 69 percent say they aren’t living up to their creative potential. At the same time, the majority of leaders don’t feel their company is creative, yet recognize creativity helps them compete, bring in higher revenue and achieve greater market share.

To be successful in the future, workers need to generate new ideas, solve tough problems and think outside the box. They need to be creative. Recently, Steelcase and Microsoft introduced a collection of Creative Spaces designed to enhance the creative process.


Ideation Hub

“The design challenge is to meet business needs while we’re serving the needs of human beings by creating thoughtfully-curated destinations,”

JAMES LUDWIGSteelcase Global Design Director.

No one space can support the changing ways in which people need to work today. That’s why Steelcase designers recommend an ecosystem of spaces that integrate people, place and technology to support the individual and the organization. People can fluidly shift from one type or work to another based on what they need to get done.

We’ve blurred the ways we work and when we work. It’s time to blur the edges of what we’ve traditionally considered the workplace. Spaces that blend design and materiality without compromising performance can inspire new ways of thinking and fueling creativity.

For more information and design ideas to meet these new challenges, visit Resilient Workplace and Inspiring Spaces.