MANITOWOC, Wis. -- With the help of design/build firm La Macchia Group, Shoreline Credit Union is redefining the member experience.
Five years ago La Macchia Group President Ralph La Macchia found a parcel property that he identified as having high growth potential for credit unions and negotiated with the developer.
"We then approached a credit union we knew that wanted to branch out and was situated on the shores of Lake Michigan. It's a beautiful view but trout don't take loans," said La Macchia. "Shoreline saw the opportunity, with this new prime location their branch would be the only three-story building and would literally stand out from the competition."
With an eye on increasing membership and building relationships yet faced with an aging member demographic, the credit union wanted to create something that would draw new younger members in.
The result said La Macchia is Shoreline Plaza, a state-of-the-art 24,000 square foot facility designed to maximize the use of the site and provide space for Shoreline CU's future needs and the needs of other businesses.
"We turned to our 23-year old Designer Jean Chandler who created something that looks like it came out of a jewelry box instead of an architectural magazine," said La Macchia. "She essentially designed something that is not just a statement to the community that Shoreline is progressive and here to stay, but that is very driven by younger demographic yet not offensive to existing or older members--it simply has a fresh retail feel."
Playing off Shoreline CU's name and tagline "A New Wave of Banking", the design has a nautical slant incorporating elements water and of being on a ship.
"The area is also known for building custom ships so the nautical theme is something that you'll see throughout the branch," said Chandler.
"And just like certain cabins on a cruise ship are afforded different views, we wanted to treat each space as unique."
From using materials inspired by stones found on the shores of Lake Michigan to surfboards as a writing desk and glass tile on the teller line that with its translucency creates the same movement of water found in an aquarium, each design layer reinforces the credit union's ties to the community.
Members walking into the lobby are greeted by an asymmetrical organic reception desk that glows. Behind a sandblasted glass wall featuring the Shoreline logo and tagline is a space for members to relax and enjoy coffee or tea while viewing the flat screen plasma televisions. Following the waves and movement within the branch members can then go to the teller area offices that overlook the lobby or see the latest showcase of boats or cars. The bright, open floor plan provides plenty of opportunities for more informal yet meaningful member employee conversations.
"We've removed the typical barriers and members feel the difference as soon as they walk in," said Chambers. "From the geometry of the building to the edgy blending of elements that are unique to the area, it attracts people and once they step inside there's more for them to explore. The staff is more approachable and it's the members who decide how they want to be handled or how they want to interact with their credit union."
The Garden Level features a large training, seminar, or conference room, which will be made available to public organizations as a community service and the second floor will be available for lease.
Located on the corner of a main retail area, the facility exterior is also a standout said La Macchia and has not only won awards but the mayor uses it to demonstrate the progressive nature of the community.
"The facility's value has exponentially increased Shoreline CU's image in the community and the word of mouth buzz has been amazing," said La Macchia.