Bar Keepers Friend parent lands new headquarters

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The Indianapolis-based maker of the Bar Keepers Friend line of cleaning products has moved its headquarters to a 65,000-square-foot building on the northwest side near 56th Street and Guion Road.

SerVaas Laboratories Inc. had outgrown a manufacturing facility and offices along Waterway Boulevard near downtown it had used for nearly 40 years, opting to sell the two properties to Indiana University.

The company paid $2.65 million for its new headquarters, an industrial building at 5240 Walt Place previously occupied by Massachusetts-based Web Industries Inc.

Paul SerVaas, the company president, said he initially favored building a new structure, but found buying an existing one was more economical.

"We needed to move and in this new building we have all the space we need for now and for some future growth," he said.

The building allows the 40-employee company to move all of its operations under one roof and avoid renting overflow warehouse space.

Bar Keepers Friend recorded about $11 million in revenue last year, and the company projects $12 million in sales this year.

That amounts to sales of about 8 million cans of the flagship cleaning powder, SerVaas said. The company could turn out 24 million cans a year in the new building if it adds a second and third shift.

The company recently started selling Bar Keepers Friend internationally, marketed with its initials BKF.

Bar Keepers Friend was invented in Indianapolis in 1883 and has been manufactured here for 127 years, the last 60 of which were under the supervision of the SerVaas family.

The company's manufacturing operation had been at 1200 Waterway Boulevard, a 40,000-square-foot building, since 1972.

Jake Sturman, senior vice president for the local office of Chicago-based Jones Lang LaSalle, brokered the deal for SerVaas. Tom Cooler of the local office of CB Richard Ellis represented the seller.

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