By: Ryan Howard
For months, drivers on Interstate 35 have wondered what that big building is on the east side of the road as they drive through Columbus. By the end of May, the building is projected to be completed, and they’ll have to wonder no longer.
The roughly 100,000-square-foot building at 14751 Hornsby St. NE is set to be the new home of Bare Home, an online bedding retailer currently based on Blaine. Owner Josh Pribyl told The Forest Lake Times that the move will give the rapidly growing business room to expand – there is space to double the building later as the need dictates – and also allows him to get closer to his roots, where he started Bare Home out of his parents’ garage. His dad, Joe, is even helping oversee work on the new building.
“We were looking at several areas to rent or buy or build, and this … plot of land was available, and it’s got good highway signage,” Pribyl said.
Founded about 10 years ago, Bare Home has staked its name on offering high quality, eco-friendly sheets and bedding material at an affordable price.
“We want to carry a variety of organic cotton; we want to be that natural brand,” Pribyl said. “We’ll find a way to do that without vastly inflating the margins.”
The company boasts about 40 staff now, though, he said, “Even two years ago from now, we had five employees.” Pribyl is happy with customers’ response to Bare Home and the company’s subsequent success, and he would like to see if that success can be replicated on an in-person basis. Building Bare Home’s new warehouse and office space close to the highway gives it good visibility for curious motorists to get off on the State Highway 97 exit and stop by. To that end, the building will also be home to a small showroom where people can see the products in person.
“We’re going to put the name on the building, and we thought, ‘OK, if all these people are driving by, noticing our brand, that’s good for awareness,’ … but they might have a [sales] interest,” Pribyl said.
He isn’t yet sure if the showroom will have a place for in-person sales or whether actual buying will remain relegated to the web.
Pribyl said the increased warehouse space will allow for more hiring, a wider product line and a more complex “pick and pack” warehouse sorting system to allow faster order fulfillment. Though the primary reason for Bare Home’s move is the Columbus site’s potential for growth, he’s also intrigued by the possibility of picking up a different pool of workers. He believes Bare Home could be a new site for competent, driven workers from the north metro area who don’t want to drive into the heart of the Twin Cities for work.
“There’s a lot of talent in that area, and now there’s a convenient workplace option,” he said.
Pribyl expects that local talent to have plenty of opportunity to make an impact at Bare Home. He expects to more than double the amount of Bare Home’s employees over the next two years, assigning new workers to warehouse and office jobs.
“[Rapid employee growth] is a challenge, but it’s definitely exciting, and I think … one of the reasons the employee satisfaction is so high is that people are excited to be part of a growing company,” he said.
Pribyl added that another benefit of locating in Columbus was city government’s receptiveness to the business. He praised city staff and the City Council members from both 2018 and 2019 for their commitment to being easy to work with.
“Many of the [council] people we have dealt with at first have maybe switched out, but even the new people have been very supportive,” he said.
Those who wish to learn more about Bare Home can visit barehome.com, but Pribyl encouraged locals to get up close and personal once the new building opens.