Company Takes Old Shipping Containers to New Level

The SpareFoot Blog
Wednesday, November 12, 2014


Courtesy of Boxman Studios


From the moment you pass through the standard brick-front façade—the face of every building at Woodland Business Park in Charlotte, NC—and enter Boxman Studios, you step into the experience.

Boxman-Pic1A shipping container frame used as a canvas for graffiti art by local artists hangs in the waiting area. Reception desks are outfitted with the ends of shipping container, and the walls in the office corridor pay homage to Malcolm McLean, a North Carolina native known as the “father” of the shipping container.


Around the world, ship, rail and truck cargo such as food, furniture and electronics is stored and transported in these hulking metal boxes.


‘Experiences Are Paramount’

In essence, every product made by Boxman Studios pays homage to McLean. The company’s decommissioned shipping containers usually are stripped to the bones and revamped into chic, modern spaces used as venues for various events and trade shows; retail pop-up stores; and semi-permanent and permanent buildings.

Founder and CEO David Campbell said: “The shipping container is the starting point. … Experiences are paramount.”

This business-to-business company understands that in order to make its clients happy, satisfaction is the ultimate goal. Satisfaction at Boxman Studios means creating environments that draw people in and encourage interaction, such as The Field House, designed for Korean automaker Hyundai.

Boxman Studios Hyundai

Courtesy of Boxman Studios


Boxman Studios created this college football venue for Hyundai.

Revving Up for Hyundai

Jim Mitchem, marketing director at Boxman Studios, said the company’s relationship with Hyundai began in 2013. Hyundai wanted to create the ultimate college football fan experience as part of its “Show Your Loyalty” campaign.

Boxman Studios produced several hospitality venues that had easy-to-interchange football branding elements, as well as a lounge with flat-screen TVs and gaming areas. The venues were equipped with RFID technology so fans could share their experiences via social media.

The ultimate fan experience ultimately was successful, and Hyundai renewed the campaign again this football season. This is just one of the many examples of Boxman Studios taking a brand’s idea and turning it into a one-of-a-kind space.

Inside Job

All of the work, whether it’s for Hyundai, Google, BMW, Hewlett-Packard and Nike or other clients, is done in-house.

After the sales team wraps up a deal and project managers are assigned, the design team enters the picture. Two designers create a layout for the project that fits the client’s demands, while also adhering to safety standards.

Next, the containers are geared toward the project’s specs. The entire transformation process happens inside the company’s 66,000-square-foot warehouse at Woodland Park. The manufacturing team consists of experts in motorsports, carpentry, automotive design, construction and Hollywood set design.

Oreo Trending Vending Lounge

Courtesy of Boxman Studios

Boxman Studios built the Oreo Trending Vending Lounge.

Skyrocketing Revenue

The Boxman Studios formula has paid off. The company saw its revenue soar 3,074 percent in three years, from $136,194 in 2010 to $4.3 million in 2013; Inc. magazine ranked the company 120th on its most recent list of the fastest-growing private companies in the U.S.

All of the company’s success stems from a reusable steel box and one man’s tenacity to turn it into something useful.

David Campbell, the founder and CEO, stumbled across an article on refurbished shipping containers in 2009. Within a few months, he’d bought one and started having it cut open and built into … something interesting.

Campbell said: “At first, I just thought, ‘If I can at least make something fun for tailgating at [Carolina] Panthers games, I can justify buying it to my wife.’”

Although he never got his own tailgating experience, Campbell’s company has gone on to create cutting-edge experiences for football fans and many other consumers.


“Experiences are the most influential part in all our lives,” Campbell said. “That’s why our constant catchphrase here is ‘This is how what you do affects me.’”

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