CEDAR FALLS — Advanced Systems is no carbon copy.
A Waterloo-Cedar Falls “original,” the office document-printing equipment company turns 60 this year. And “copy this” — the firm has moved into, renovated and filled out a new $5 million, 32,500-square-foot home on Westminster Drive in the Cedar Falls Industrial Park. It moved from its longtime location on Airport Boulevard.
The company acquired the building a year ago, and the move had been a work in progress since then, company President Dave Quint said.
“When we purchased it, there was 2,000 square feet finished. And the rest was warehouse,” he said, “Basically we gutted that and started from scratch. We were able to build it to suit us.”
It was previously used by Weber Paper Co., which relocated within the Industrial Park.
About 17,000 square feet has been finished out to office space.
The move was a big chore, but a nice problem to have, since it resulted from company growth.
“In our old building we had a 4,000-square-foot warehouse. We’re talking 14,000” in the new building, he said, which is crucial. “What we really push ourselves on is having on-hand parts inventory and supplies inventory. We really push on that first-call completion with our customers,” when equipment needs repair or replacing.
“We didn’t need to add staff. We were just operating out of two facilities. We were just cramped for space,” Quint said.
The company had leased the former Flowerama building on Airline Highway in Waterloo, near its former offices, for the past year and a half to house sales staff.
The new space offers multiple conference or “huddle rooms,” in addition to a board room, named for former company executives such as John S. Latta Jr., T. Wayne Davis, Marv Klepfer and Mel Kubicek.
The building also offers a main conference room.
“Our old facility we couldn’t have a sales or service meeting on site,” Quint said. “We didn’t have a space for it. If we wanted to have our shareholders meeting we had to go to a hotel. Here, we’ve got the room designed for 50.”
Also the location in the Industrial Park allows the company to bring sales personnel in for training conferences, adjacent to more hotels and eating establishments. “Just everything — the amenities that are afforded here,” Quint said, and access to Cedar Falls Utilities online services “is huge for us, as far as the speed of our internet. It’s a substantial upgrade.”
The building has new office furnishings, height-adjustable work stations allowing workers to stand or sit and an open area allowing line-of-sight contact among staff. “Our old office was all chopped up so even our administrative team was in two different offices,” Quint said.
“It’s so different,” Quint said. “We didn’t really even have a place that was convenient for our employees to have lunch because it was so small,” Quint said. Future plans call for the addition of a equipped fitness center.
The building also has a brand new display area to show off its products. “Talk about state of the art. Just the look. Nobody in our area has anything like this,” he said, to show off, demonstrate new equipment and train customers in.
It also has a dispatch area where staff field service calls all over the company territory, from Illinois to South Dakota. The company also reaches north into southern Minnesota and as far south as Fort Madison — about 11,000 customers who have copiers, scanners, telecommunications systems, printers document software, some type of company-vended equipment or complete management of company print needs and devices. “Just different ways of doing print,” Quint said. A new area of business will be video surveillance.
“There’s a lot of people that don’t know how far we go,” Quint said. “The concept here is to impress upon our customers and prospects the technology we use, and again, that emphasis on first-call completion,” Quint said.
The building also sports a stylized entrance, illuminated at night with a large sculpted company logo the height of the building.
The company will have an open house through the day Dec. 14 with a social time from 4:30 to 8 p.m. Former company executives are expected to attend.
The company plans a display of historic products it sold over the past 60 years — background office music systems, a 3M Thermofax copier, overhead projectors, microfilm readers and others — as well as a historic timeline.
Advanced Systems was founded in 1957 as Latta’s Business Systems by John Latta Jr., Kenneth Lauterbach, Robert C. Hill, T. Wayne Davis and Marvin Klepfer to market then-new 3M Thermofax copiers. The company changed its name to Advanced Systems Inc. in 1966.