To those passing by Capital One Café, which occupies the first floor of the company’s four-floor office building positioned on corner of First Street South and Seventh Avenue South in Historic Downtown St. Cloud, it may appear to be just another coffee shop.

And in many ways, it is—if that’s all you need it to be. Its expansive, meeting-conducive space, filled with free Wi-Fi and clean-lined, functional furniture, makes being (or trying to be) productive while sipping on a hand-crafted Peet’s Coffee beverage—which is always 50 percent off for Capital One cardholders—easy.

But, for Capital One customers, the Café provides a culturally relevant and approachable setting to receive support for their bank account, while being a place where they can learn new ways to manage their finances, try out new digital and financial tools, or simply grab a great cup of coffee or local pastry.

“Whether you’re a Capital One customer or not, the Café is just great place to connect,” said Shaun Rowley, National Café Executive. Rowley, a St. Cloud State graduate and Sauk Rapids native, began working for ING DIRECT as a part-time associate while in college and became full-time after graduation. ING DIRECT was acquired by Capital One in 2011.

We’ve expanded our footprint in this building several times since the transition from ING DIRECT to Capital One, and we’re still growing,” explained Rowley.

Capital One’s presence in St. Cloud in recent years is hard to ignore. While a steep discount at the café is a nice perk and some help with banking digitally is nice, one can only assume there’s more at play to retain and attract local talent.

As the recipient of ‘Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work For’, ‘Working Mother magazine’s 100 Best Companies’, among many others, it isn’t a secret Capital One has created a winning culture focused on fostering long-term careers. Rowley himself is a testament.

“I started working a Customer Service ‘job’ and quickly realized Capital One is a company where I could build a career,” Rowley said. Since then, he has transitioned to roles in marketing, product development, business analytics and people leadership as well as relocated several times throughout the country. Today, he’s back in St. Cloud but supports team members across Capital One Café locations.

In addition to nurturing its talent, Capital One also believes optimal employee performance and engagement comes from providing an attractive workspace, one that’s also reflective of the company’s innovative, inclusive and flexible culture. Therefore, as the St. Cloud location as grown, so has its digs.

In 2018, Capital One’s downtown St. Cloud office underwent a major remodel, adding a more robust lobby area, 300-person event center (that’s also free for non-profit use) and updated interiors in the Café along with multiple workspaces, conference rooms and dining areas across all four floors.

Capital One promotes balance and empowers associates to embrace their preferred method of productivity and innovation by offering up cozy, private corners and modular group seating areas that accommodate all workstyles—from large collaborative teams to quiet, solo thinking and everything in between.

Each floor is themed after a season, a concept intended to represent the merging of nature and technology. “I work primarily on the winter floor, but believe me, it’s not as cold as it sounds,” Rowley said with a laugh. A visit to the ‘winter’ floor proved that statement to be true, as accents of hockey sticks, ice fishing, wood textures and plaid patterns adorned the space.

Furthermore, Capital One promotes corporate well-being by providing the option for stand-up workstations, access to an on-site private gym and the daily staffing of a physician in the office’s private wellness clinic. It’s hard to think of the workplace as a bank as it feels much more like a tech company than a financial institution.

Outside the office, associates are encouraged to volunteer and are provided with the time and resources to do so. As a result, an impressive 97% of Capital One associates volunteer in the community each year, resulting in over 10,000 hours of service in the St. Cloud area. Associates are able to invest their time volunteering with non-profits they have a personal passion for, as well as Capital One Future Edge partners, which is focused on helping people gain skills for the 21st century, small business development and financial well-being.

In Greater St. Cloud specifically, Capital One has volunteered, offered associate skills-based volunteerism and invested grant dollars at local organizations, including: Catholic Charities of the Diocese of St. Cloud, Central Minnesota Habitat for Humanity, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Minnesota, Junior Achievement of the Upper Midwest, Inc., March of Dimes Foundation, Downtown Council of St. Cloud, Boy Scouts of America Central Minnesota Council, Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Minnesota and Greater St. Cloud Development Corporation.

Last fall, Capital One was also named a Yellow Ribbon Company, a designation held by less than 100 Minnesota companies for their effort in providing a workplace culture supportive of retired and active military veterans and their families.

“I believe our continued growth and award recognition is simply a result of employees having a passion for what they do and a love of our community,” said Rowley. “We’re excited about what our future looks like in St. Cloud.” Judging by the additional desks recently added during the 2018 renovation, Capital One plans to further deepen its roots in Greater St. Cloud.

It might be time to go grab a cup of coffee at the corner of First Street South and Seventh Avenue South to find out what the buzz is about for yourself.