Carolina Foothills Federal Credit Union

Prototypes + Renovations + Rollouts / Strategy → Design → Interiors / 2,962 SQ. FT.

The Challenge

It’s not unusual at NewGround for client work to evolve and change scope over the course of a year. Oftentimes, small projects evolve and grow to include multi-faceted challenges and problems to solve for clients. NewGround’s client, Carolina Foothills Federal Credit Union (Carolina Foothills FCU) originally sought to conduct a market study. The work then evolved to include some design work, millwork, furniture, environmental graphics, and project management. After experiencing NewGround’s in-house capabilities, Carolina Foothills FCU decided one branch redesign wasn’t enough for them; they wanted a whole new branch prototype design to serve as a model for future branch rollouts.

For this location, Carolina Foothills FCU had a simple focus: they wanted a building that would stand out in the community. Typically, other financial institutions in the area utilize red brick, pitched roofs, and simple colors. However, the CEO of Carolina Foothills FCU requested something different and unique. Utilizing the brand colors of orange and gray, NewGround designed the exterior and interior to pop into something attention-grabbing and intriguing from a glance.

“From the moment members walk into the space, they are greeted by Carolina Foothills FCU signature orange and gray colors. The lighting is also innovative and chic, utilizing low-hanging shapes to create depth and visual appeal,” says Hannah Duke, NewGround interior designer who worked on this project. “The rough brick accent wall creates pops of color and texture, pulling elements from both the inside and outside of the credit union into one cohesive space.”

The Journey

Through environmental and interior design, the space is a merging of modern and rustic charm. The lobby at the front is welcoming and inviting, and there’s even a freezer where members can receive ice cream treats when they visit. Through the collaboration of Carolina Foothills FCU and NewGround, the credit union was able to achieve their goal of standing out and making their members feel welcome.

Another goal for the credit union was to incorporate flexible space for community training or events. Carolina Foothills FCU valued community involvement and working directly with their local members. NewGround utilized a design with a generous lobby and additional seating that could be added for events such as seminars, meetings, or educational events. A large digital screen was added to ensure the community had appropriate multimedia resources.

Carolina Foothills FCU also worked with NewGround to design a “community showcase,” a magnetic, metal panel that serves as a giant blank canvas for the space. This panel can be used to display community events, local school artwork, or other announcements directly related to the surrounding area. The panel anchors the interior space and serves as a contrast point as well. This concept was extremely well-received and serves as a beautiful link between the credit union and the community.

While branches and buildings such as these are always aimed at driving the member experience, the Employee Journey is just as important. Working together, NewGround and the team at Carolina Foothills FCU designed a teller space crafted more closely to a concierge desk, creating a more friendly greeter space as opposed to a transaction space. However, should the location get busy, the space was designed to allow plenty of waiting areas around the lobby, so the desk doesn’t interfere with the overall flow. These integrations will help employees and staff better assist members and feel more comfortable in the space, without being limited and restrained behind large counters and glass.

NewGround also designed an all-new staff room, with a separate “off-stage area” for staff in the back, as well as a separate restroom for staff to use. The off-stage area comes with personal lockers and lounge furniture so employees can relax on their breaks and find time to unwind.

The Destination

Overall, the Carolina Foothills FCU location was created with both staff and members in mind. Starting with strategy and continuing through the design and implementation, the location serves as a bright pillar displaying the unique brand and image of Carolina Foothills FCU. This branch will serve as a model for future branch rollouts for Carolina Foothills FCU, specifically with the inclusion of the community showcase wall. From the magnetic community showcase wall to the freezer giving out free ice cream on Fridays, the space was a great location to work on, and showcases exactly how partnering with NewGround can completely redefine a space.