Custer Creates Sustainable, Creative Office Space for Green Giftz

By  June 29, 2017

Green Giftz
Grand Rapids, MI
June 2017

Having outgrown their previous space in the Brassworks Building, promotional products company Green Giftz sought a new work environment that would reflect their sustainable, creative brand identity. To do just that, last fall Green Giftz purchased a 2,700-square foot office located in Monroe North at 532 Ottawa Ave., and partnered with Custer to create a work environment to meet their needs.

“Green Giftz outgrew their small suite in the Brassworks building and wanted to carry that inspiring, industrial charm over to their new office on Ottawa,” said Alex Genzink, interior project designer at Custer. “We designed their new space with that same character in mind and used a sophisticated, natural palette that better reflects their brand. Interior elements include mixed materials, light woodgrains and vintage inspired lighting. The space will be a Green Giftz showroom, office space and entertaining venue for the Green Giftz family.”

The entire office was designed with clients and employees in mind. Karen Scarpino, owner of Green Giftz, wanted to make sure their new office felt like home.

“As a business owner, I often spend more waking hours at our office than in our home, so I see our office as an extension of home and our employees and customers as family,” said Scarpino. “Custer helped us design a space that works for our employees and inspires them to do great work. The design offers so many positive benefits for our employees, including abundant natural light and team work spaces.”

Custer Inc. helped Green Giftz convert their building into a bright and welcoming office space with collaborative desks, a new kitchen and open work café area, and fireplace and sofa at the entryway.

Wanting to blend the old with the new, Scarpino and Custer incorporated rustic features such as old warehouse windows repurposed as wall accents, blending reclaimed barn wood into the design and repurposing an old warehouse door as a conference table. They also brought raw materials from Green Giftz inventory into the design, including fashioning the felt used to make tablet covers into a noise-absorbing ceiling treatment that hangs over the conference room table.

“We wanted a space that was open, warm, inviting and collaborative, and also reflected our values. The Custer team helped us bring that vision to life,” said Scarpino. “Custer understood how to create a sustainable, high-quality office design that inspires creativity and empowers employees. Custer made an excellent partner for us because their values align very closely with ours.”

Genzink began working with Green Giftz after Lott3Metz, a Grand Rapids-based architecture firm, developed architectural plans for the building. Throughout the project, Genzink also worked closely with McGraw Construction, the contractor on the project, to ensure the design vision was maintained.

“When we found 532 Ottawa Ave. NW, we knew it would be a great fit for Green Giftz and their company culture,” said Lott3Metz Principal Greg Metz. “The building is located close to downtown with plenty of space for inventory, and we worked with owners Karen and Lou Scarpino and the Custer team to make it an inviting space for clients and an open working environment for employees.”

Green Giftz is a family-owned business, operated by Karen Scarpino and her husband and daughter. Green Giftz has plans for a ribbon cutting on Sept. 21. For more information about Green Giftz, visit

See this story in the Grand Rapids Business Journal and Rapid Growth Media.

Salesperson: Mark Custer
Designer: Alex Genzink
Architect: Lott3Metz
Construction: McGraw Construction

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