Netherlands manufacturer picks Cedar Falls site for its first U.S. facility
CEDAR FALLS |
A manufacturer of tractor hitches, transmissions and heavy-equipment parts based in the Netherlands is expanding into the U.S., and has chosen Cedar Falls as its American base.
Zuidberg Frontline Systems BV, based in the city of Ens in the Netherlands, numbers tractor manufacturers Deere & Co., CNH Industrial and outdoor power tool maker Echo among its customers. It will open its first U.S.-based distribution center -- Zuidberg North America Inc. -- in a new 40,000-square-foot building at 3105 Capital Way in the Cedar Falls Industrial Park, the company announced today.
Zuidberg, pronounced "Zideberg," plans to hire six employees to start as it occupies 10,000 square feet of the new building initially, said Rudolf de Jong, president of Zuidberg North America Inc., which was born as a corporate entity Jan. 1.
Additional employees will be hired as the entity grows. Twenty percent annual growth is projected, de Jong said.
The building is a result of a deal between the city of Cedar Falls and local developer Brent Dahlstrom.
The city agreed last year to provide Dahlstrom a parcel of about 5 acres and a five-year partial industrial property-tax exemption if he constructed a building with a valuation of at least $1.6 million, said Bob Seymour, community services manager with the city's Department of Developmental Services.
The company chose Iowa over other Midwestern states and Cedar Falls over Des Moines in its quest to open its first U.S. location, de Jong said.
“We already had the ambition to be closer to our customers in the U.S. and Canada, and we also wanted to be closer to the engineering centers of our customers like John Deere, CNH and Echo,” said de Jong, who had been Zuidberg’s sales director in the Netherlands and will move to the area as president of the new entity.
"In the end, we chose Iowa because of a few things. I think Iowans fit together with Zuidberg's mentality of hard-working, simple-to-the-point. We have a good tradition of manufacturing. Iowa, of course, is America’s heartland in agriculture, as well.”
The company chose Cedar Falls just before Christmas, de Jong said.
“I had been looking at two cities – Waterloo-Cedar Falls and Des Moines,” he said. “If you say ‘Waterloo’ you think about agriculture. John Deere, of course, is here and a good customer of ours.”
Deere is the Zuidberg’s fourth-largest customer at about $1 million per year, and other clients have locations that are proximate, including Minnesota, Illinois and Wisconsin, de Jong said.
Zuidberg is a family-owned company founded in 1982, specializing in front hitches, front power take-offs, transmissions and rubber track systems.
Zuidberg products are sold by importers in over 45 countries worldwide, de Jong said.
A new agreement with an importer calls for Zuidberg to service customers directly in the U.S., with the importer handling sales in Canada, de Jong said. Contracts require the first shipments to go out July 1.
Zuidberg, which employs 225 people in Ens, recorded sales of $85 million last year. De Jong said the company anticipates the Cedar Falls location to fuel North American sales growth from $4 million 2013 to $7 million this year, with 20 percent yearly growth.
Zuidberg North America will serve agriculture customers in the U.S., Canada and Mexico, providing sales, service and engineering support functions to both original equipment manufacturers and after-market customers and supply products directly from its Cedar Falls warehouse, de Jong said.
Single Source designed the building and Tracy Rokes of Cedar Falls is the general contractor, de Jong said.
The deal is a result of collaboration between the Iowa Economic Development Authority and the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber, said Steve Dust, CEO of the Alliance.
“We’re very enthused about it," Dust said."We look at it as a seed for something significant for the Cedar Valley over time.”
Work already is underway at the site, said de Jong, who has been with Zuidberg for more than seven years.
“They’re defrosting the area at the moment, because we need to occupy the building by the first of June, so they need to start now, more or less, to realize that,” de Jong said.