One Workplace has seen three generations of the Ferrari family — but it was family-owned before Mark Ferrari, his siblings, or even his father came into leadership.
Before it was One Workplace, it was Lindsay’s, a bookstore run by Curtis Lindsay and his relations. After coming out of the service in 1947, Mark’s dad, Elmo Ferrari, started working for the store by delivering packages on his bicycle.
In the early 1950s, he met his wife as a customer, and in 1975, the couple purchased 50 percent of the business. Eight years later, Mark Ferrari and his siblings (Dave Ferrari and Julie Jarvis) purchased the other 50 percent. Constantly evolving, the business swapped books and stationery for office supplies and furniture. Its current focus is on furniture for the office environment.
One Workplace’s website identifies itself as “the only company that creates engaging workplaces through the integration of architecture, furniture, and technology expertise.” Yes, they offer products for the physical workspace (like contemporary workstations and stylish swivel chairs), but they delve deeper, discovering how these things impact productivity, creativity, and collaboration.
This motto is evident in the way the Ferraris treat their employees.
“They are what make our company work.” Mark Ferrari said. “We run it as a family business, and the culture that we create is really a big part of its success. The challenge is, as we get bigger, to keep that going.”
Because of their respect for those they work alongside, they don’t allow incoming family members special privileges.
“They should be treated no differently than any other employee,” Ferrari said. “A family member can’t come in and all of a sudden be in charge. They have to earn it just like any other employee.”
Ferrari and his siblings certainly put in the hours. Starting in the warehouse, they worked through high school and Santa Clara University. “We were given the opportunity, but were not forced into the business,” Ferrari said. “It’s something we wanted to do, and that’s the same thing we’ve passed on to our children.”
Ferrari has gone from his warehouse position to one as CEO and head of operations services. He collaborates with his siblings Dave Ferrari (president) and Julie Jarvis (executive vice president) to make sure One Workplace continues to run at peak performance.
“We complement each other: My brother’s sales focused, I’m more operations focused, my sister’s more marketing and customer satisfaction focused,” Ferrari said. “We push and challenge each other in that if my brother has a great idea, then my sister and I have to figure out how we’re going to implement it. We’re calculated risk takers, and we talk through different situations.”