There's not much in Bill Shipley's new office space.

But the Shipley Energy CEO has what he considers to be the essentials: a spare necktie and several copies of "Green Eggs and Ham."

The book by Dr. Seuss is the best business manual ever written, Shipley said.

"Selling energy isn't much different than selling green eggs and ham," he said.

The book's protagonist Sam I Am demonstrates qualities of an effective leader, which is why Shipley shares the story with the majority of his 500 employees.

"Sam I Am makes 16 offers for others to try green eggs and ham and receives 74 rejections, but he never stops smiling," he said.

In the end, Sam I Am's persistence and free trial offer pays off when he finally hears the words, "I do like green eggs and ham."

CEO Bill Shipley talks about Shipley Energy’s new office on Norway Street.
CEO Bill Shipley talks about Shipley Energy's new office on Norway Street. (John A. Pavoncello photo)

"There are naysayers for everything we sell and there are also an enormous number of potential buyers. Focus on the potential and the positives," Shipley tells his employees.

His mantra has helped grow the fourth-generation family business started by Tom Shipley in 1929.

Moving: This week, the energy firm is relocating its York City headquarters from an outdated facility on East King Street to a state-of-the-art green building on Norway Street.

The company previously announced it would donate its East King Street property to Crispus Attucks and the York City Food Bank.

Shipley Energy, which has been based at 550 E. King St. for 53 years, is moving to 415 Norway St.

A $2 million renovation has also been completed in a neighboring warehouse at 413 Norway St. and both addresses will comprise the company's new headquarters.

"This move is intended to position our business for the next generation," Shipley said.

The facility: The Norway Street headquarters will house about 100 Shipley Energy employees and has potential to house 150 workers. The remainder of the company's employees work in the field, the CEO said.

Built in the 1950s, the Norway Street properties originally served as the site for Campbell Chain. Some of the buildings' original features, such as a fire door, have been preserved in the new modern layout.

Perhaps the biggest upgrade is to the old warehouse at 413 Norway St. It was converted into an open-office workspace that will serve as the company's trading floor.

Fuel prices: The buyers and schedulers of petroleum, propane, natural gas and electricity previously procured their products throughout different Shipley offices.

"It will be nice to have everyone under one roof," Shipley said. Having his traders in the same room will enable better communication among workers and yield better energy deals.

"With the volatility that has become commonplace in energy markets, our ability to make good buys has become increasingly valuable to our customers," he said.

The energy market is so volatile, prices change by the second, said Laura O'Connor, manager of natural gas operations for Shipley.

An 8-cent swing in prices from morning to afternoon could mean an $800 difference in cost to the buyer, she said.

The company procures products for 4,000 business suppliers and 60,000 homeowners.

The numerous screens in the new trading room allow buyers to see market fluctuations in real time.

"There's openness and visibility now among team members," she said.

Being open: If the new office had a theme -- in addition to the company's hallmark shades of blue and green -- it would be that openness. Many of the structural elements are exposed, large windows line the facility, and employees work without private offices and closed doors.

Even the CEO's office is a cubical among other workers on the main floor.

"I'm trying to set an example that you need to get out and collaborate," Shipley said.

Other office spaces that provide an opportunity for that collaboration include a training room that can accommodate 100, an employee lounge and a large break room that, of course, includes a print of "Green Eggs and Ham" on the wall.

There's also a small gym in the revamped warehouse, and the men's and women's restrooms include private showers.

"It's the kind of place you want to wake up and go to every day," said Andrea Cote, marketing and sales coordinator for Shipley. "It's a valuable commitment to the people here, and it motivates them to give back."

-- Candy Woodall can also be reached at