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Stop 14: Overture Premiums & Promotions
Vernon Hills, IL

While the road tour crew piled into a plane yesterday in Las Vegas bound for Chicago, and then spent the morning at The ASI Show in Chicago, one more stop on the Best Places to Work summer tour is on the agenda. So, we ditch the suits and ties and slap on our favorite road tour tees, and head out of Chicago in a very hot taxi to Vernon Hills, IL, where we are immediately greeted by a unique setting outside the front door of Overture Premiums & Promotions (asi/288473).

Fancy cars are everywhere. Show cars like the Delorean in the Back to the Future movies adorn the landscape and parking lot in front of the offices. Once inside, you can immediately tell that this is no ordinary distributorship. These people have FUN. “We have your scooters all ready to go,” company founder Heather Sanderson says to us as we enter the building.

Huh? Scooters? We’ve seen a lot of crazy stuff on this cross-country trip, but this is maybe going to top it all. Indeed, Overture provides us with electric scooters to tour around its offices – almost a necessity for us very tired and spent travelers to view the whole office, which includes a 70,000-square-foot warehouse and enough space for the company to do all of its own decoration in-house.

Of course, this company also provides all of the trappings of a great workplace that definitely makes its employees feel like they’re at home all day long. It has a bowling alley, a basketball hoop, cornhole games and multiple other diversions on site for its 50 employees to use during breaks. Plus, there’s a “serenity room” equipped with a massage chair, and the company will cover 50% of the cost of any employee’s gym membership. Overture also hosts a quarterly event off-site, celebrations like picnics, cocktails and appetizers, bowling and other team events to get the whole office together in a relaxed environment. “We know that happy employees make happy customers,” Sanderson says. “So, we do whatever we can to make sure our people are happy.”

That includes desserts and root beer floats, which everybody is interrupting their game-playing to partake in as the day nears its end. One visit here and you know: The Overture office is one with energy and motivation where people have fun and support each other constantly.

That atmosphere has led the company to big success recently. Sanderson says the company’s revenues increased by about 30% in 2010 and are on pace to grow another 30% to 35% in 2011. “Our employees make our company,” she says. “They’re happy, and they provide the kind of service that attracts good clients and keeps them coming back. We’ve had big clients with us for all 10 years we’ve been in business.”

Indeed, Sanderson founded the company and quickly enticed industry veteran Joe Hazan to join her. The two started with just a few employees in 2001. And they’re careful with their hiring practices to ensure that as the company grows, the culture remains consistent. “We look for team players who want to work in an entrepreneurial environment,” Sanderson says. “You need to understand our culture to thrive here. We’re not looking over their shoulders, and we don’t want them if we have to.”

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