Why RJE Chose to Play Ball in Downtown Fort Wayne

Denny Sponsel

By: Denny Sponsel - President, RJE Business Interiors

Category: Economic Development

You know the excitement that grows as your team puts together one thrilling victory after another? That's the powerful momentum I feel among my team right now. The economy has turned and we're getting win after win thanks to key business decisions, including an expansion into Ft. Wayne. Some people may be thinking, "Why Ft. Wayne?" It's an easy answer.

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We want to be part of the city's winning streak of new development, new energy and new opportunities. Here's how it happened.

Our major manufacturing partner Knoll encouraged us to open a new office in Ft. Wayne about 18 months ago. Our team has been helping clients create office interiors in Indianapolis and Cincinnati for 14-plus and five years, respectively. Was expansion right for the team? Was the timing right to add another showroom and staff? We thought we'd just take a look to see the possibilities. We arranged a meeting with city leaders and stopped at the Visitor's Center on the way. Decision made - then and there.

When we walked into the Visitor's Center, I asked the young lady at the desk what she likes about Ft. Wayne. She smiled and replied, "Do you mean, 'What do I love about Fort Wayne?'" Not like. LOVE.

My first thought: "I should hire her!"

My second thought: I want to do business in a place that welcomes you with that enthusiasm! Everyone we talked with expressed tremendous community pride and optimism.

It's clear the Ft. Wayne downtown is rejuvenated and full of energy. It's growing, expanding and shining. We see it not only in new showroom at The Harrison overlooking Parkview Field, but in the Grand Wayne Convention Center, the Courtyard Marriott, Meyers Park, Randall Lofts and other new developments. Ft. Wayne is a thriving community and a critical gateway to northern Indiana commerce.

We love having Parkview Field as our backyard. We entertain a lot in this industry, and what better place to serve warm chocolate chip cookies (or peanuts and cracker jacks) than on our patio overlooking the outfield?

We also brought our culture with the belief that we can't succeed unless those around us prosper. We're teaming up with the organizations that make Ft. Wayne a better place to live and work— Greater Fort Wayne Inc., the Rotary Club of Fort Wayne, the United Way of Allen County, and many other community initiatives.

Someone recently asked me, "Why Fort Wayne? We're hardly the size of Indianapolis or Cincinnati." We think we can bring value to customers, add employment opportunities and enhance our already profitable business in this northern Indiana hub. Just as important, we want to be part of this vibrant, proud community and contribute to further growth in downtown Fort Wayne and throughout the area. We love our new place at Parkview Field and we’re ready to play ball as the newest member of the Ft. Wayne business team.

Denny Sponsel is president of RJE Business Interiors.

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