Consider this. The corporate headquarters of a new Eagan company will have all the usual office trimmings—a watercooler, coffee machine, ergonomic chairs and one very unique feature: A fully functional, automated car wash.
The car wash will be a testing ground for new products, rather than a perk, however. Eagan's newest corporate citizen is Zep Vehicle Care, a company provides cleaning products and protectants used by the commercial car wash industry and automotive fleets.
ZVC officially moved into its new headquarters in north Eagan last Monday. The company is the result of a $120 million acquisition deal in which Minnesota-based Ecolab sold its vehicle care division to Zep, Inc. The deal went through on Dec. 1, 2012.
Ecolab had a vehicle care division for 15 years.
"We were very successful but at the end of the day we were not a strategic fit. Ecolab specializes in cleaning and sanitation for hospitality, food and beverage and now the energy industry and there was not a good alignment there," said Steve Nichols, president of ZVC. "Zep, on the other hand, derives about 60 percent of its annual revenue from automotive and transportation industries."
The acquisition was a long process. It took about a year's time to prepare for the transition, Nichols said. Finding a space for the HQ was special challenge, given the demands of the business.
"There's a lot of space that will have 10 percent office space and 90 percent warehouse space. That's not what we wanted," Nichols said. "It took some searching to find it, but we're really pleased with this facility. We think it's a great home for our people and our business."
The 12,000 square foot facility in Eagan combines office space with a fully-equipped laboratory for research and development.
"That's one of the things we're really excited about. For the first time in 10 years our entire functional staff will be together in one place," Nichols said, adding that the space was more conducive to teamwork and cooperation.
The new headquarters also comes with plenty of room to accommodate future growth. ZVC had 115 people when it formed in December 2012. Nichols anticipates that the company's headcount will grow to 150 by the end of this year.