Cooke Financial Group
From a wire house to their own home, Cooke Financial Group's new space celebrates their independence. This gave them the opportunity to purchase and design a space that embodies their brand.
The Cooke Financial Group team has always had an entrepreneurial spirit.
John Cooke started the firm in 1969, and his sons Brian and Chris run it today, ever-evolving the business alongside the needs of their clients.
In 2016, that entrepreneurial spark blazed yet again when—after nearly 50 years working for large institutions known as “wire house firms”—Cooke Financial Group went independent. The change allowed the Cooke team to be more flexible and purchase real estate.
“We decided to buy a building and create a new work environment for our team,” said Brian Cooke, CIMA®, partner at Cooke Financial Group. “In the wire house world, when we redid our space, we got a handful of carpet samples and paint chips to choose from. We were looking for a different look than the marble floors and cherry woods of the past.”
To help meet his team’s vision, Brian called OfficeWorks, which had a strong relationship with Cooke Financial Group and the project’s interior designer.
“OfficeWorks did a great job presenting options to achieve our goals,” Brian said. “They hosted meetings so we could try different types of furniture and feel fabrics. As we built out the space, OfficeWorks visited the site regularly. Engaging them to help create the space resulted in a project that exceeded our expectations, and I highly recommend them.”
“We make sure we’re hearing what our customers want to accomplish, and then make purposeful recommendations to help them get there,” said Camille Inchauste, account executive at OfficeWorks. “We appreciated that Cooke Financial Group was open to our ideas and trusted us with their space.”
Creating positive impressions and meaningful connections
As Brian’s team was envisioning the new Cooke Financial Group, they wanted an open, light-filled, collaborative, and inviting space that was comfortable for clients.
Cooke Financial Group’s previous office didn’t have a lobby; clients checked in at a receptionist desk, then waited in a conference room. For the new location, Brian drew inspiration by the feeling of luxury car dealership lobbies.
Today, clients walk into a cozy gathering area with comfortable seating and a coffee bar. The client-focused experience extends to the four conference rooms concentrated near the reception area. Advisors can choose rooms with sizes, furniture, and layouts that fit their needs, from more formal meetings to casual or consultative conversations.
“The conference rooms flow well together, yet each one is unique,” said Megan Minnich, senior designer at OfficeWorks. “It helps the advisors tailor their approach to each client.”
For the rooms with tables, Brian said that—after hearing OfficeWorks’ recommendations—they chose boat-shaped and round tables, so there’s no ‘head of the table.’
“We want our clients to feel like an equal partner with us, and that we’re all in it together for the benefit of them and their families,” Brian said.
For virtual meetings, Cooke Financial Group’s office includes a media room featuring the Herman Miller Exclave table.
“The high-top, guitar-pick table and barstools work great for that space,” Brian said.
Improving flexibility and functionality
Cooke Financial Group’s previous location had built-in cubicles that didn’t offer much flexibility. In the new space, Herman Miller Canvas workstations create clear lines of sight throughout the office while providing team members with the option to sit or stand.
“We have wonderful, open workstations that offer functionality and plenty of storage,” Brian said. “They foster good communication and collaboration among teams, and the pullout credenzas provide privacy. I have an interior office, but it feels like I have an exterior window because of all the natural light.”
In planning the layout of the workstations, OfficeWorks and Cooke Financial Group talked through which teams work together and who needed additional storage. To be mindful of the budget, OfficeWorks repurposed existing file cabinets to match the aesthetic of the new space.
“They look brand-new and dovetailed into the space perfectly,” Brian said.
A training center provides a place for continuing education opportunities, includes a kitchen/bar area, and connects to an outdoor gathering space.
Grabbing the brand by the horns
With the new furnishings, finishes, and design of their office, Cooke Financial Group’s space fully captures the entrepreneurial element of their brand.
“I love the color palette, with the dark grey and bright whites,” Brian said. “The design feels like you’re walking into a startup.”
The design choices also emphasize a special element—a bull graphic Brian’s daughter designed, with each color representing one of the company’s core values.
“When clients visit us, they love our space and ask why we didn’t make the move sooner,” Brian said. “They love the color scheme and how comfortable everything is. It truly feels like an entrepreneurial financial tech firm. I can’t think of anything we would change.”
Interior Design: Parallel Design