Fort Wayne wasn’t the only headquarters location considered when the owners of Shindigz decided it needed to do its research and development, management and other administrative recruiting from a city other than South Whitley.
“They could have gone anywhere,” Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry said during a May 9 celebration of the party supply company’s April 22 headquarters relocation to the former Harrison Place. The 5-story, 33,000-square-foot historic building is at the southeast corner of Wayne and Harrison streets.
The company announced its purchase of the building that it has renamed Shindigz Place last July and started last year on the remodeling of its fourth floor for the relocation of its entire professional and administrative staff of more than 50 employees.
“I thank Greater Fort Wayne and the entire team there for their work with us in convincing us to come to downtown and showing us how talent can work in this community, and the Northeast Indiana (Regional) Partnership’s John Sampson for engaging us with universities in this area,” Shep Moyle, chairman and co-owner, said at the event.
The purchase of the building was the culmination of a lengthy, comprehensive review process in which Shindigz managers and board members also considered several other markets in other parts of the country.
“It’s difficult to get talent to go to South Whitley, Indiana, so we needed to move. So that started the search,” co-owner Wendy Moyle said after the event as tours of the new headquarters were about to begin.
“We looked seriously at Durham, North Carolina,” she said. “We have some ties down there, so we looked in Durham and obviously it’s ‘Technology Central’ and there are a lot of opportunities there. But we felt our heart was in Indiana.”
“When we looked at different locations, we decided that this was the best place. The support, the structure, the enthusiasm, the growth, the trajectory, all is where we want to be,” she said.
Shindigz will maintain its distribution center and its manufacturing and fulfillment operations in South Whitley and expected to invest in facility and operational upgrades at its 200,000 square feet of space there this year. It has a workforce there of close to 300.
“We have about 55 of our professional group here downtown right now. We’re hoping to grow and double that over the next five to 10 years,” Moyle said of the company’s headquarters employment projections.
The need to recruit professionals in an era when employers face more competition for talent drove the headquarters relocation decision, Dan Haight, Shindigz CEO, said during the celebration.
“Part of our move to downtown Fort Wayne was really looking for an opportunity to continue to attract and retain great talent — technology, data analytics, creative, design — all of those kinds of things that are central to what we do at Shindigz,” he said.
“Being here in downtown Fort Wayne is really allowing us to take our great team that we already have and we’re going to be able to put it on steroids and really grow our team with some great talent.”
Haight and the company’s owners said they looked forward to participating in efforts to help downtown Fort Wayne achieve its potential as a hub for entertainment and leisure activities as well as commerce.
“We believe in the momentum taking place downtown, and we’re thrilled about continuing to call northeast Indiana home,” Shep Moyle said in a statement. “Opening Shindigz Place is the beginning of a new chapter of our story and the story of Fort Wayne as well.”
The company demonstrated its commitment to its new home with donations to five organizations that it characterized as focused on Fort Wayne’s urban core:
• Riverfront Fort Wayne
• Downtown Improvement District
• Boys and Girls Clubs of Fort Wayne
• Vincent Village, Inc.
• Arts United of Greater Fort Wayne Indiana
The size of the donations — $1,926 — was chosen to symbolize the year of the company’s founding.
Henry expressed appreciation for the community spirit Shindigz’s owners have shown and for their support of the city’s downtown improvement efforts.
“When successful companies like Shindigz decide to come to Fort Wayne and come downtown … that speaks volumes for them as individuals,” he said. “To have someone like that in downtown Fort Wayne representing our city, you can’t ask for anything more than that.”