After 10 years in Emsworth, Pa., auxiliary equipment maker Conair Group Inc. is moving its headquarters to another Pittsburgh suburb - a 45,000-square-foot building in Cranberry Township.
Conair will move during Christmas week.
``We will be live doing business on Jan. 2,'' Conair President Christopher Keller said. During the holiday, phone calls will be routed to the company's assembly site in Franklin, Pa. ``We don't anticipate any disruption in customer service that week.''
Keller said all 80 Conair headquarters employees will make the move to Cranberry, which is about 15 miles from Emsworth. Located in a fast-growing part of the greater Pittsburgh area, Cranberry is near Pittsburgh International Airport and the intersection of I-79 and the Pennsylvania Turnpike.
Conair moved into the Emsworth facility in 1997, after remodeling and adding onto the building. Its 10-year lease expires Jan. 30, leaving the equipment company with the option to buy the building or move out. Keller said Conair officials had decided to stay put, but then ``stumbled upon'' the Cranberry location.
The Emsworth facility measures 65,000 square feet, including a 20,000-square-foot technical center to show off equipment and run customer trials. The old building has a huge lobby.
In Cranberry, the new building is smaller, but more modern and laid out better, with just one floor and a more open environment, Conair officials said.
The changes will improve work flow and communication between employees.
``While our current site is a fantastic showcase facility and has served us well for the last decade, the lease expiration gave us the opportunity to explore new options and, in the end, the decision was easy,'' Keller said.
In Emsworth, Keller said, Conair employees ``are scattered over three floors and three different wings, eight different areas. Now we're going put them all in one area.'' The new building also will cut the company's energy bills by more than half, he said.
Conair will lease the new headquarters.
The Cranberry site also will have a tech center. Though it will be smaller than the one in Emsworth, officials said the center will accommodate everything Conair had in Emsworth, plus provide space for a product showroom and laboratory space for customer testing of material conveying, drying and blending, heat-transfer equipment, granulators and extrusion lines.
``It'll have everything that we do today, plus a little more, because we got a clean slate to redesign it,'' Keller said in a telephone interview.
Conair has changed its tech center layout somewhat over the years in Emsworth. Originally, the company had three injection molding machines to show off Conair auxiliary equipment. But most customers end up running molding trials at their own plants, or their injection press supplier, Keller said.
``The truth is, customers didn't have the need to come to us to run off products in injection. There also was the logistics of moving molds around. The customers weren't looking to us for that kind of support,'' he said.
Conair has no plans to have injection molding machines at its new location.
But customers do visit Conair to run extrusion trials and test drying and blending. Keller said the new tech center will have a dedicated area for Conair's new two-stage resin dryer, the EnergySmart.
``The benefit is that, 10 years after we designed the first one, we've got the ability to lay it out from scratch and do it according to the current needs of our customers,'' Keller said.