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Top equipment firm coming here

Kidde Canada, the country’s leading supplier of fire safety equipment, is moving from its Markham headquarters to Vaughan in January, the company’s chief financial officer Robert Pizzola said last week.

The planned move follows the expiration of Kidde’s lease, which forced the company to examine its options.

The decision to move into a new facility at Edgeley Blvd. and Four Valley Dr. near Vaughan Mills came after studying prices in the 905 and commuting distances for its 45 employees, Pizzola said.

“We did an employee survey where we took all the existing postal codes, mapped them and so on,” he said. “(We tried to) identify a location that would inconvenience the least amount of people.

“When everything was said and done, the focal point was basically Hwy. 400 and Hwy. 7. That was the ideal spot to do business.”

Upon learning of Kidde’s relocation strategy, Peter Campitelli, president and chair of the Vaughan Chamber of Commerce, said companies that consider the work-life balance of their employees in business decisions are the type the chamber wants to see more of.

“Often times we forget that the whole reason that we work so hard is so that we can have a better life at home with our families,” Campitelli said.” If they’re respecting that, boy, they’re the type of people we want to have on board.”

The move will place Kidde in Ward 4, Councillor Sandra Yeung Racco’s district. She agreed with Campitelli, saying that she would like to see a city that is more than just a bedroom community.

“My vision is that we … keep our residents here to work in the city of Vaughan, to live in the city of Vaughan, to socialize and to have a good time in the city of Vaughan,” she said in recent phone interview. “That’s what we want to do.”

The move also presents an opportunity for Kidde to streamline some of its operations by eliminating the need to use outside storage, a position the company finds itself in at its cramped Markham location.

“By moving to that facility in Vaughan, we’ll have the ability to house everything under one roof again,” Pizzola said. “It’s good from an efficiency standpoint.”

Campitelli said that moving into a larger facility provides the additional benefit of relieving “that upward pressure on rent”.

“It’s also a good time to probably be considering renting given where the market could be going in the next few years,” he added.

Rent did play a significant part in Kidde’s decision to relocate to Concord, Pizzola said, after a comparative survey of GTA rates made Vaughan look increasingly attractive.

“(We) then looked at other factors and what the rental rates were in Brampton, Mississauga and here in Markham,” he said. “There were cost advantages to Vaughan.”

Not quite as dispassionate as Pizzola, Racco, who regularly champions safety-related causes, took the news of Kidde’s move into her ward from neighbouring Markham with genuine glee.

“We’re always welcoming new businesses into the area and we’re certainly even happier when we’re able to take businesses from somebody else and bring them over,” Racco said with a laugh. “I am absolutely thrilled that they have chosen the city of Vaughan to relocate to.”

Vaughan Today
Friday, October 12, 2007
Page: 6
Section: Vaughan Business
Byline: Philip Alves