Monday, June 23, 2008

Is Urban Outfitters Corporate The Best Place To Work In Philadelphia??

urban outfitters corporate headquarters, philadelphia, navy yardBefore answering, let's qualify that. Philadelphia Business Journal is currently taking nominations for its annual ‘Best Places To Work’ report.

And after reading this article from the Inquirer a few weeks back about Urban, we do have to admit: Urban Outfitters definitely looks pretty attractive.

At least when compared to your typical corporate suckfest. And to other darling local corporations like, say, Comcast or Advanta.
A sexy standout in the staid Philadelphia business scene, Urban Outfitters is the envy of the retail world - a company on the make in a city on the make. In five years its stock has outperformed the industry overall while sales have grown from $548 million to $1.5 billion last year.

Urban is on a hiring binge as others are firing, expanding while others are pulling back, enjoying architectural praise for a new headquarters at the Navy Yard, chasing Internet youth while others grieve for the olden days and ways.
Bully for them.

urban outfitters corporate headquarters, philadelphia, navy yard
[Founder Richard] Hayne, one of Philadelphia's self-made tycoons, has found the retail equivalent of the Fountain of Youth. The baby boomer has turned Generations X and Y into slavish shoppers by selling them "an experience" made by peers.

Hayne's philosophy: Young people are great customers. If you want them to like what you're selling, hire people just like them and give them power over what you sell.

Hayne and his executives believe youthful talent, unfettered creativity and business discipline - elements often at odds in corporate culture - can transform the business into a $10 billion behemoth.

"The model a lot of companies use is a very pyramidal model which sort of designates that all creativity, all wisdom flows from the top," said Hayne, who built Urban from a ragtag University City storefront he opened 38 years ago. "We think that's the absolute wrong model."


Hayne surrounds himself with people who have passion, said retail analyst Brian Ford, who has known him since 1974 and worked for 15 years as a corporate accountant for Urban.

"They have very creative avant-garde thinkers," Ford said, "and allow them freedom."
Now that’s more impressive. Downright admirable even.

Almost attractive enough to make us overlook Hayne’s politickin'.

But probably not.

So to answer our original question: maybe.

Related:
Going from ragtag to riches - Philadelphia's Urban Outfitters defies trends, thriving on youthful talent [ Philadelphia Inquirer ]
Slideshow: Urban Outfitters - A niche grows in Philadelphia [ Philadelphia Inquirer ]
A Stitch In Time [ Metropolis Magazine ]

[ Photos via Metropolis ]

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