Business

Kansas City’s Coolest Office Spaces: AdFarm

AdFarm may be located right in the thick of downtown’s ever-bustling creative hub, the Crossroads Arts District, but the office itself feels more like a rural retreat.

Upon entering the space, guests are greeted by a rustic, antique windmill sourced from an old Kansas farm and showcased with dramatic up-lighting. Gorgeous mismatched panels of reclaimed wood bring warmth to the walls, while corrugated metal siding—suggestive of an old grain bin—add a touch of whimsy. Brainstorming sessions take place behind a pair of spectacular sliding barn doors that lead to a private conference room styled after an old silo.

It’s an absolute showpiece, but more importantly, it’s an homage to AdFarm’s agricultural roots. The company was established in Canada by a group of former agricultural executives who saw a need for better representation by the advertising industry. They formed AdFarm in the ’90s and continue to focus 100 percent on agricultural clients.

In addition to its offices in Calgary, Alberta, and Guelph, Ontario, AdFarm expanded to the U.S. a little more than a decade ago and now has offices in Sacramento, Calif.; Fargo, N.D.; St. Louis and KC—all close to major agricultural zones.

This is no coincidence, says Les Kahl, executive creative director and managing partner for AdFarm’s U.S. operations. The company purposefully set up shop near its clients’ growing areas because it wanted to be close to the action. “We want to be out in the field with the growers,” he explains.

So much so that AdFarm actually operates three farms of its own. The company grows soybeans in Aneta, N.D.; winter wheat in Vulcan, Alberta; and cassava and maize in Awutu Mankessim, Ghana.

“The farms help our staff learn more about agriculture, knowing exactly what it takes to grow crops as part of producing food, and also to understand some of the joys and pains that our clients go through,” Kahl says.

AdFarm’s first KC office was in the River Market community. Within a few short years, it outgrew the space and relocated to the former Western Union building at 7th and Walnut where it stayed until 2014.

In February, the company moved less than two miles to its current space at 2101 Broadway Blvd. AdFarm was the first tenant to inhabit this nearly century-old property after its recent transformation to a multi-use commercial space. It now shares the building with Pezzettino Italian Deli & Market and software consulting firm Valorem.

Finkle/Williams Architecture not only designed AdFarm’s new 6,768-square-foot office on Broadway, it was also the architect of record for its previous space in the Western Union building as well as the company’s Sacramento branch.

Coincidentally, the Leawood-based architect was already working on the $7 million restoration of 2101 Broadway Blvd. when the building’s owner asked if it would be interested in designing an office belonging to one of the new tenants.