Lulu has always been an innovative company, but I didn’t realize how much so until I started working here. I am still a baby at Lulu (only in week three of my employment as I write this), but I have already witnessed a great deal of progress in my short time here, namely in the new building that serves as Lulu’s headquarters.
For months after I graduated from North Carolina State I would drive down Hillsborough Street, stealing glances into what had been an abandoned North Carolina Equipment Company factory. Now, instead of dust collecting on unused parts and piles of ambiguous boxes, there was quite a stir in the red-bricked Raleigh landmark. A small sign eventually appeared on the outside that said “Lulu.com.” I had heard great things about Lulu and their unique approach to publishing from some of my classes at NCSU. I kept Lulu in the back of my mind. I took that sign as a calling – I had to work there.
The vision behind recycling an old, worn down building and making it a center for industry again is one that not enough companies maintain these days. Revitalizing the 28,800 square feet of space was certainly an ambitious move. Graffiti, weeds, trash and the like all needed to be cleared out. The building was more or less gutted, adding collaborative work spaces, skylights, art from local galleries, and well-stocked break rooms. However, the pieces that give the building integrity and character remain in place. Lulu simply modernized and expanded upon the behemoth, keeping the greatest part: the signature yellow tractor that sits atop the roof. But what really catches the eye now is the new entrance. What used to be a simple, rusty garage door is now a giant arching wood ceiling supported by massive steel beams.
Lulu invites local technology and publication groups to utilize the new space for meetings. Guests will immediately be able to see the thought and planning that went into the company’s main facility, and will be pulled into Lulu’s brand of style and innovation as well.
The building has created hype all around town and has rejuvenated people’s interests in this area of Hillsborough Street. Whenever I mention where I work, I always hear, “Oh the tractor building? Cool!” It’s impossible to miss. The excitement the structure has created also energizes the employees within. The building is a symbol for Lulu’s growth and success. You can tell from the outside that things are abuzz in this facility, but it’s not until one enters that it becomes truly evident of how much is really going on.