SOUTHINGTON — A Meriden insurance company is among the employers that have moved to the former Clark Brothers Bolt Factory building, which has gone from a derelict Canal Street structure 17 years ago to a full commercial hub.
Bongiovanni Insurance & Financial, formerly on Research Parkway in Meriden, merged with FLP Financial of Southington to form Nesso Group. FLP Financial was in the Clark Brothers building and the combined company’s space was increased by 19,000 square feet. The two companies merged at the beginning of 2022.
“It’s pretty remarkable how they resurrected the building,” said Trey Bongiovanni, Nesso Group senior vice president. “The office space was incredible.”
The aesthetic appeal has drawn a host of other businesses to the former factory. Bruce Staebler, the building’s owner, has two of his ventures at the building as well, Kinsmen Brewing Company and Signature Brand Factory. Staebler is among the owners of Clark Brothers Distilling, a company looking to take the last vacant space in the building and complement the beer brewer with whiskeys and bourbons.
Staebler said the building offers something that’s just not possible in modern office space.
“You’ve got this old, historic, really incredible space that you just can’t duplicate when you do new. These hand-hewn beams, these exposed beams, these skylights everywhere,” he said. “You’ve got that great old historic environment combined with state-of-the-art infrastructure in terms of WiFi and data.”
The variety of businesses, such as a salon, and the adjacent Farmington Canal Heritage Trail have contributed to the building being more than just a place to work.
“The key element is the culture. With the brewery and the restaurant and stuff, it’s creating this kind of culture where you’ve got gym space and workout space combined with the casual big fireplace where you can have a beer,” Staebler said. “It’s this complete lifestyle offering all in one place. Nobody has to go anywhere.”Promoting wellness
Nesso Group has nearly 30,000 square feet of the factory. The company has built two commercial kitchens and a 4,500 square-foot gym with trainers. There’s also amenities such as a pool table for employees looking to take a break, in addition to other offerings in the building outside the Nesso space.
“There’s a brewery here, there’s a salon here so a lot of our team members will get haircuts at lunch time. We try to promote wellness as much as possible, both physical and mental,” Bongiovanni said.
There’s room to add another 40 to 50 employees, he said. Nesso Group team members are configured in an open floor plan and move desks to collaborate with different workers in the company.
“Everybody sits together and you never sit at the same desk,” Bongiovanni said. “We want you to sit next to somebody you’ve never sat next to, learn what they do.”
Staebler said many of the companies in the building have added amenities to make the space a place employees want to be.
“None of them are just work,” he said.
Lisa Iannone, vice president and senior partner at Hobson Associates, said the Clark Brothers building is unlike the company’s former space in Cheshire. Hobson Associates, an executive search firm, moved in May.
“We were in a quintessential 1980s brick and glass office building. It was great, we were there for 24 years… We just wanted kind of a cool vibe,” Iannone said. “As soon as I walked in (to the Clark Brothers building), I could picture what we could do with the space. It’s been great. It’s a really vibrant community.”
Hobson Associates is the only tenant on the second floor of the factory.
“An old factory building, it’s kind of timeless,” Iannone said. “You can do anything. You can go completely modern, you can do industrial chic and it looks good. It’s an awesome timeless canvas to build office space.”