Echo Inc., the maker of hand-held outdoor power equipment, is expanding in Lake Zurich again.
Construction recently started on a 51,000-square-foot two-story corporate office center at the existing facility at 400 Oakwood Road. "We are totally out of office space and anticipate more squeeze as the company continues to grow," said Barb Gora, senior manager of corporate marketing at Echo.
The shell of the building will be up this winter with an expected completion next fall. Employees in marketing, sales, finance and IT will be relocated to the new building. The existing corporate office will house product and service related functions.
The campus, with 865 employees, also houses Echo's manufacturing and distribution operations. The new addition brings the total square footage to 462,750, Gora said.
"The expansion is being built for the future. It will look like a corporate headquarters," Gora said. "We're land locked now."
The major expansion at the campus comes about six years after the company opened a new 129,000-square-foot warehouse at the company, a subsidiary of Yamabiko Corp. of Japan. That expansion was necessary to accommodate a merger with Shindaiwa, which was based in the Portland area. Echo has made several other acquisitions since that time as the company continues to grow.
Top items for the privately held company include grass trimmers, blowers and chain saws. Power edgers, sprayers and water pumps are other items included under the Echo name and often used by landscaping companies and serious gardeners. "They are premium, high end products," Gora said, adding that they can be found in the U.S. at Home Depot.
Founded as Kioritz Corp. of America in Northbrook in 1972, the company serves landscaping, arborist and industrial markets. It changed its name to Echo in 1978. Tim Dorsey has served as CEO for the company that also markets its products through independent dealers under the brand names Echo, Shindaiwa, Echo Bear Cat and Crary.
With recent acquisitions, Echo is expanding in other areas. For example, if you drive by the building in the Lake Zurich industrial park, you will often see a lawn robotic mower that's popular for sports fields in Europe.
Gora said it looks like a frog moving along the property, cutting the grass, operating on battery. It is configured with a wire perimeter, similar to an electronic fence.
The company is working to develop
many new products, including technology that picks up and washes golf balls on a driving range.
Just in time for fall
Zoup! Fresh Soup Company franchisee James Kemp is opening a location in Woodridge. The new restaurant is in the Grove Parcel shopping plaza at 1001 W. 75th St.
"I'm excited to bring the Zoup! experience to the Woodridge community," Kemp said.
As an established brand throughout the United States and Canada -- with 90 restaurants in 19 states/provinces -- Zoup! is targeting Illinois as part of an overall expansion strategy.
Zoup! features hundreds of award-winning soup recipes with 12 rotating daily varieties, including low-fat, low-cal, vegetarian, dairy-free and gluten-free options, all served with freshly baked bread. Customer favorites include Chicken Potpie, Lobster Bisque and Vegetarian Split Pea.
A good cause
Selim Bassoul, chairman and CEO of the Middleby Corp., was recognized for the development of an innovative oven used in refugee camps.
He received the Social Impact Award at the EY World Entrepreneur of the Year 2016 Gala held in Monaco. Bassoul is the first recipient of the honor.
"What's important to me is that we are making a difference in the world by addressing the needs of refugees and those less fortunate to give them another chance in life. Most people cannot imagine the magnitude of the refugee camps, but I have seen it first hand, and I am committed to making their lives easier," he said.
Prior to receiving the recognition, a video was played which showed Bassoul visiting the camps and speaking to refugees. Upon conclusion, the audience of thousands went silent after seeing the desperate conditions. The ovens were lowered from above the stage and were "floating" over the stage when Bryan E. Pearce, EY Global Leader, highlighted Selim's accomplishments.
Through the Bassoul Dignity Foundation, Bassoul and his family are using their time and their own personal resources to give back to the most vulnerable and needy around the world. Selim, along with his wife, created the foundation to provide a second chance in life to those in dire situations.