(Pictured left to right Nancy Apel, Marcy Handlan)
Starting a business or updating an office environment? Say hello to Working Spaces. Co-founded by Nancy Apel and Marcy Handlan more than two decades ago, the company is the gold standard in office design and workspace solutions. T&S caught up with Apel and Handlan to learn more about how they are innovating the world of the workplace.
How did your partnership begin?
Nancy Apel (NA): I was working for a manufacturer at the time, and Marcy was with another dealership. Through numerous conversations, we discussed what we felt was missing in the market. Both of us wanted to create something unique and out-of-the-box. With our combined passion, we felt that we could do this. It started out with more of a boutique feel, but it grew into something much bigger.
When did you realize Working Spaces would succeed?
Marcy Handlan (MH): We never thought twice. We have like-minded goals for delivering an exceptional client experience, and we knew that about each other when we started. That was really the basis for delivering the experience that we have since 1999.
NA: We had so many people along the way asking if we knew what we were doing. We would look at each other and wonder why we weren’t scared. I think when you have so much passion for what you’re doing, it doesn’t even occur to you to rethink things. It was always full speed ahead.
Since the pandemic, many companies have tweaked how they do business. How has that impacted you?
NA: The supply chain has been the biggest hurdle. We don’t have any control over it—nobody in our industry does. It’s about finding ways to work around delays, keep ahead of problems and stay proactive. You just have to remain passionate. In our business, no two days are the same. This is a new challenge, but that’s what makes it exciting and interesting.
Do you have a favorite place to travel for business?
MH: I don’t know if I have a favorite place. Every market is different, and it’s exciting to visit each one. Traveling to different locations, you feel the energy of each group and realize the importance of everyone coming together as one company and culture. I think we took that for granted before, but the pandemic has shown how important that is.
Give me your go-to restaurants around St. Louis.
NA: A lunch favorite is BrickTop’s.
MH: I have a husband who’s a chef as a hobby, so there aren’t a lot of dinners out, but I’ve become a breakfast person. My top spots are The Clover and the Bee, Yolklore, Bowood and Living Room.
What’s the best kept secret about Working Spaces?
NA: It may not be a secret, but we have an unbelievable team. We’re all about our culture. Even though we’ve continued to grow, what’s most important to us is our people. We care about each other, celebrate together and support one another during difficult times. That’s the formula that works for us.
MH: Throughout our history, we’ve faced unprecedented challenges, but we’ve always come out the other side stronger. That is a testament to our team. Everyone here wants to be a part of Working Spaces. I truly believe it starts at the top, so every single day, Nancy and I roll up ourselves and start problem solving. We’re in the trenches with everyone else. I think that’s something not everyone realizes.