The new building is considered a forever home, and can easily be expanded when the time comes.
Best Christmas present you can give a company and its 132 full time employees? How about a brand new state-of-the art building complete with a fitness room, locker room, showers, and expansive indoor bike storage. Add in high ceilings, a tranquil atrium, and abundant natural light, and then locate the new HQ adjacent to a sprawling multi-use trail network with spectacular views of the Rocky Mountains.
Sounds pretty nice, huh? Well, that's exactly what Pearl Izumi got under the tree this year. Except the new building's ribbon cutting was a couple weeks before Christmas so everyone could get moved in before taking off for the holidays.
RoadBikeReview got a chance to check out the new digs this week and was duly impressed. If you're looking for employment in the cycling, running or triathlon world, this would certainly be a nice place to work. Heck, there's even an electric fireplace in the break room.
Check out the photos below to see highlights of Pearl Izumi's new 55,000-square-foot digs, and learn about some of the unique processes it uses to manufacture cycling apparel. [And for a further look inside the Pearl Izumi operation, check out our tour of its old building that we took earlier this year.]
Can't beat the views.
The new building is situated just a few hundred yards from Pearl Izumi's old locale, on the east end of Louisville, Colorado. But due to a subtle shift in window orientation the views of the nearby Rocky Mountains are dramatically improved. It's also right next door to the Coal Creek Regional Trail, a great place to ride bikes or run. Our tour guide, brand manager Andrew Hammond, commutes to work almost every day via this trail.
No this is not a concept store. It's where Pearl Izumi and Shimano dealers get up close looks at the products they'll be selling.
Just off the main entryway is this 3,500-square foot business center, a place where dealers can see and touch all the new offerings from Pearl Izumi and its parent company Shimano. The day we visited there was a sign welcoming "Colorado Cyclist" a large on-line retailer.
Right around the corner is full-glass garage door that opens out onto the Coal Creek Trail, making it easy to check out new goods, then head outside to put it through its paces.
Curious what a Pearl Izumi gloves display will look like in your shop? Now you know.
The X Project mountain bike shoe is one of the company's big new products for 2014. Learn more HERE.
The Speed Shop, as the name implies, is where apparel gets made quickly.
Pearl Izumi's Speed Shop is a place where product often first comes to life. Manned by a team of expert sewers and stocked with every imaginable fabric type and thread color, this is ground zero for custom apparel creation, and more importantly, prototype design and testing.
Whether working with new patterns, aerodynamics, pocket placement, or chamois design, alterations and revisions can be made here quickly. The shop includes all the various machines you would find in a fully operational apparel factory. In a crunch, the facility can produce 8-12 full custom pieces in a single day.
Creativity in process.
Various design teams are situated at the center of this wide open building, whose architecture as you can see below was designed to be integrated with the sloping landscape and surrounding prairie, reducing the cost of the foundation. It also bears a subtle resemblance to the nearby Flatiron Mountains that form the eastern border of the Rocky Mountains and border Boulder, Colorado.
There is a subtle resemblance to the nearby Flatiron Mountains.
The new building incorporates many environmental features that reduce overall energy consumption. In order to keep site water drainage from going into the city storm drain system, there are 11 rain gardens that retain water on-site and allow water to filter into the natural underground aquifer. Additionally the metal on the outside of the structure is made from recycled cars (there are 60 miles of metal panels in total), and the wood on the front the building is recycled snow fence from Wyoming. [Check out page 2 for a look inside Pearl Izumi's test lab, aka the fabric torture chamber.]
This abrasion machine reveals whether a fabric can stand up to the effect of your legs brushing your saddle over and over again.
Perhaps the most fascinating portion of our tour was a walk through the Pearl Izumi materials test lab. Or what's essentially a multi-pronged torture chamber for all the various fabrics used to make cycling, running and triathlon apparel.
The lab's tests are used both during the development process to vet new materials brought in from various mills, and also to maintain quality control during the production process. Turns out that occasionally factories will produce higher quality samples than actual main production product, meaning Pearl Izumi must constantly be inspecting fabrics to assure they meet company standards.
Within the lab are machines that snag stretch and abrade, check for pilling and colorfastness, measure drying time and water resistance, and even mimic the effects of multiple trips through a washing machine (one wash equals five).
"Basically we are a company that's in the apparel engineering business," explained our tour guide, Ride brand manager Andrew Hammond. "Different fabrics have different characteristics and different ways you can use them."
A look inside the snag machine, a test designed to see how a fabric stands up to occasional encounters with sharp objects.
Right next door to the test lab are a pair of fit rooms, one men's, one women's (pictured below). Here Pearl Izumi designers work with a team of specially selected fit models, who serve as a 3D canvas for examining how products fit and move during real world use. The fit models, who are part time Pearl Izumi employees, are selected because their body size and shape most closely resembles a baseline collection of body measurements that have been collected over time. "It's a mix of super fit people, and also normal body shapes," explained Hammond.
This fit room allows designers to see how their creations look in real-world situations.
Finally, the new Pearl Izumi HQ building has amenities that you'd expect from a company with such deep roots in the endurance sports world. There's a weight room and fitness center, bike storage room, and men's and women's locker rooms with showers. So you can go hammer on the lunch ride (which leaves everyday at 12:15 p.m.) and still be feeling fresh for that afternoon meeting. [Check out the video below to see the sublimation process and click through the gallery to see more images from our tour.]
Nicer than your neighborhood health club.