MINNEOTA - The building next door to Universal Forest Products is showing signs of activity once more. Welders worked putting together the metal framework for a hydraulic door on an afternoon last week. Although the production work has started, Stan Robinson said, the workshop space isn't finished yet.
"We're putting in cranes, and bringing in equipment," that makes it possible to build larger doors, said Stan Robinson, the CEO and president of Icon Door Systems.
Icon Door Systems, a manufacturer of single-panel hydraulic lift doors, is the new occupant of what had been a vacant Universal Forest Products building. Company leaders announced the business' official opening in May, and Robinson said the business has been making doors since then. It is Icon's intent to continue making doors into the future, Robinson said.
Photo by Deb Gau
Stan Robinson, the CEO and president of Icon Door Systems, said the company’s new location in Minneota will be a good fit for the business. Factors like size, location and availability of workers are all favorable.
"We have a really good group of people" working with the company, Robinson said, and he likes the community of Minneota.
Robinson said he and his business partner Jonathon Hartley had experience making hydraulic lift doors in California.
"Basically, we just continued on from there," Robinson said. Opening a facility in the Midwest made sense, because so much of the hydraulic door industry is located there.
"There are a lot of people who have expertise, all in a certain area," he said. "It isn't a big stretch for us to be here."
Icon's arrival in Minneota comes not long after the closing and bankruptcy of Hydroswing, Inc. of Cottonwood. Icon is employing some former Hydroswing employees, and Robinson said he is a creditor in the bankruptcy case. However, Robinson stresses that he does not want Icon to be part of the negative aspects of the closing. Icon is focused on making high-quality doors, and the company should stand on its own merit, he said.
The decision to set up shop in Minneota came from a combination of factors, Robinson said. Building space was available, there was access to potential employees, and the location was convenient.
"It couldn't be better," Robinson said. With Universal Forest Products, the Minneota facility is right next door to a crate and pallet provider. A local trucking firm is also in the neighborhood.
Robinson's background is in engineering, and he has been working on a new design for a hydraulic door that Icon will manufacture. The design is going through the patent process, he said, as well as being examined by a third-party tester.
"It's going to change the way these things are done," Robinson said of the door design. The new design will enable Icon to build larger doors in less space, as well as being a good product, Robinson said. "We want to have the safest door in the industry."
Icon still has a manufacturing facility in California, but Robinson said the Minneota location will be the main sales, design and manufacturing location. Robinson is currently dividing his time between the Minneota and California facilities, but he said he is looking for a home in the Minneota area.
Robinson said the company would like to have about 40 employees, "Hopefully before the end of the year." If everything goes well, he said, Icon's next goal would be to add a facility in the southeastern U.S. Spreading out facility locations would help cut down on shipping and transportation costs for doors, Robinson explained.
The company also plans to offer welding training courses, to help develop a strong pool of employees.
"The amount of effort put into making this happen is huge," Robinson said of the business. "We have no interest in this being a flash in the pan."