Corporate Express, one of the world’s largest distributors of office, facilities, furniture and computer products, will gain an additional foothold in the jan/san market with the acquisition of Coastwide Laboratories, Wilsonville, Ore., a distributor and manufacturer of a line of environmentally preferable products in the Northwest United States.

Financial terms of the sale were not disclosed.

“The acquisition supports our objectives of increased growth in the facilities market,” said Van Hindes, vice president of communications for Corporate Express. “We’ve been expanding in that market the last couple of years, and Coastwide was just a good fit with us.”

With the Coastwide acquisition, some layoffs are expected, although Hindes could not say how many.

“Our sales and customer-facing organizations will continue, but in some cases there will be some job reductions,” he said. “However, no job actions will be taken for at least six months.” The sales force will likely be unaffected, Hindes added, but distribution operations will see some job cuts.

Hindes believes the acquisition will benefit both Corporate Express’ and Coastwide’s customers by allowing them to streamline purchasing.

“Part of our strategy of expanding product offerings is to help our customers be more efficient, and to meet customers’ needs in looking for fewer suppliers,” said Hindes. In addition, “Not only will Coastwide’s customers continue to receive great service and support, but this acquisition enhances the facility supply offering to Corporate Express’ customers.”

Part of that offering includes Coastwide’s line of environmentally sound cleaning products, sold under the brand name “Sustainable Earth” — a brand that Corporate Express considers a valuable addition to its own lines. The products will now be available to Corporate Express customers nationwide, and will be supported by its national sales force.

Hindes expressed interest in more jan/san-industry acquisitions, though he could not give specifics. He did say, however: “We will probably continue to look at acquisitions in the facilities supply areas.” The addition of jan/san products has been well received by Corporate Express customers, he noted.

Coastwide Laboratories’ 2005 sales totaled $45 million, and the company employs more than 150 people throughout 11 locations in the Northwest United States.

Corporate Express is a subsidiary of Buhrmann, NV, with 2005 North American sales totaling $4.6 billion.

ISSA Amsterdam Attendees Find A Different Kind Of Show
Attendees at this year’s ISSA/INTERCLEAN 2006 trade show in Amsterdam reported a relaxed, yet energized, atmosphere that was conducive to good business. While they tout the benefits of the U.S. show, they say the show in Amsterdam gave them new perspective on how these shows can be conducted.

David Holtzman, president of TEC Products Co., Inc., Carteret, N.J., had attended the Amsterdam show two times in the past, and said he would like to see some aspects of the Amsterdam show take hold in the United States. Most of the show’s high energy came from its 535 exhibitors.

“I think the excitement levels at their booths, the way they present their products, the way they entertain their clients with both entertainment with magicians … it’s more like a party atmosphere that made everyone feel really relaxed,” said Holtzman.

Jeff Stone, president of sales for Access Group Southern California, Azusa, Calif., agreed that the show offered something different compared to the U.S. show. “It’s more cordial and less pressure,” said Stone. “People kind of work over to your booth and are hospitable and there is not that pressure to rush from one end of the hall to the other.”

There were fewer overall visitors at this year’s show — 25,294 — than at the 2002 (26,456) and 2004 (27,460) shows, but organizers say the quality of visitors was exceptional, as more than one-third were able to make purchasing decisions.

Organizers of the show report that nearly 60 percent of visitors represented 120 countries, the remainder coming from all over the Netherlands. Exhibitors were represented by 31 countries.

SM, Sister Publications To Sponsor ISSA/INTERCLEAN® Seminars
This year, Sanitary Maintenance, Contracting Profits and Housekeeping Solutions magazines will sponsor the lineup of educational seminars at ISSA/INTERCLEAN® 2006. The show will be held October 4-7, 2006, at McCormick Place in Chicago.

Instead of dividing the sessions into topics relevant to specific audiences, this year’s seminars will be separated into sessions that focus on various industry-wide topics:

Reducing Your Slips, Trips and Falls Risk, by Steve Spencer
The Total Cost of Facility Ownership and Stewardship, by Alan Bigger
Get Motivated and Improve Communication to Impact Performance and Profits, by Fred Broder
From Paying Your Dues to Changing the Rules: Succession Planning and the New Generations, by Robert Wendover
• Find and Keep the Right Employees ... Without Stealing from the Competition, by Kathryne A. Newton, Ph.D.
• The Financial Impact of Green Cleaning, by Dave Frank
Staffing and Workloading for the Bottom Line, by Jim Peduto
Communication Bleeps and Blunders in Business, by Todd Hunt
• Maintaining Quality While Reducing Costs, by Steve Spencer

For more information, including complete session descriptions, visit

Sale Of J-D Subsidiary Won’t Affect Product Offerings
JohnsonDiversey, Sturtevant, Wis., recently sold its subsidiary, Johnson Polymer, to BASF, Ludwigshafen, Germany for $470 million. Johnson Polymer is one of the world’s largest producers of water-based resins — raw materials that are used in the production of coatings.

The sale should not affect the company’s jan/san-related products, said Greg Bell, director of global communication for JohnsonDiversey.

“We’ll continue to make our products with the polymers the way we have always done, so I don’t think our end user customers will see any difference at all,” Bell explained.

According to a JohnsonDiversey press release, the global market for water-based resins is growing at an average rate of 5 percent per year, and in recent years, Johnson Polymers has grown faster than the market.

Bell said the profitable subsidiary was sold because JohnsonDiversey is focusing on its core business of providing cleaning products and solutions. “Even though Johnson Polymer has been a very good subsidiary, it really is not part of that core business — that of concentrating on delivering the very best products and services and programs,” said Bell.

Johnson Polymers’ operations will integrated into BASF’s Performance Chemicals division.

NAW/DREF Releases New Book
The National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors’ (NAW) Distribution Research and Education Foundation recently released a new book, Smart Investments: Developing Top Performers in Wholesale Distribution.

The book centers on training and development in wholesale distribution, with particular emphasis on employee development.

It discusses the five strategies that help companies find and retain quality employees and guides distributors on how they can implement those strategies.

Author Susan Levering includes more than two dozen “Road Maps” for distributors to work through — each representing important steps that distributors must take in their strategic planning process to identify and implement needed training.


Survey: Buyers Give Distributors High Marks
In a recent survey on distributor performance conducted by Purchasing magazine, 94 percent of respondents said their suppliers did either an “excellent” or “good” job in 2005.

The survey also found that 54 percent of buyers are purchasing more items through distributors than they did five years ago.

Buyers appreciate distributors who offer more than just a low price — value-added services such as customer service, e-commerce, and handling of delivery and lead time issues are important.

Overall, buyers say total cost is more important than the initial price of a product.

Home Depot’s Industry Acquisitions Drive Profit
Home Depot Inc., Atlanta, reported a 19 percent increase in first-quarter profit — net income increased from $1.25 billion a year ago to $1.48 billion, according to MarketWatch Inc. Home Depot has recently been expanding its presence in the supply business, making several acquisitions, including Hughes Supply earlier this year for $3.51 billion. MarketWatch reports that supply operations represented 10 percent of the company’s sales in the first quarter and had a sales growth of 225 percent, following the integration of Hughes.

EPA Notes Decrease In Toxic Chemical Releases
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently released its Toxics Release Inventory (TRI), which showed a significant decline in the amount of toxic chemicals released into the environment.

The overall decrease between 2003 and 2004 was 4 percent, but the largest declines came in some of the most toxic chemicals, like dioxin and dioxin compounds (58 percent); mercury and mercury compounds (16 percent); and polychlorinated biphenyls (92 percent).


Activant Solutions, Yardley, Pa., recently announced the completion of its acquisition by Activant Solutions Holdings Inc., and all its subsidiaries by funds affiliated with private equity firms Hellman & Friedman LLC, Thoma Cressey and JMI Equity from funds affiliated with HM Capital Partners LLC.

Hillyard Inc., St. Joseph, Mo., acquired Des Moines Sanitary Supply Co., Des Moines, Iowa. Des Moines Sanitary Supply Company has been a distributor of Hillyard products for the past 16 years. The Des Moines location will operate as Hillyard/Des Moines Sanitary Supply.

Ecolab, St. Paul, Minn., has bought a minority interest in Apprise Technologies Inc., of Duluth, Minn., for $2.5 million. Apprise is a privately held company that designs and sells sensor-based products and Ecolab is interested in the company as it relates to soap dispensing.

SupplyDen Inc., a Rochester Mills, Mich.-based jan/san distributor, has acquired W.M. Roth & Sons, Fraser, Mich., another Detroit-area jan/san distributor.

Gordon Brush Mfg., Co., Inc., Commerce, Calif., has purchased the assets of Milwaukee Dustless Brush, Milwaukee. The plant was moved to a modern facility in Delavan, Wis.

The FNA Group, an Elk Grove Village, Ill.-based marketer of high pressure washers and accessories, acquired the assets of Phoenix Cleaning Systems, located in Northwest Arkansas, and its Simpson and Delco branded lines of pressure washing equipment. The company will be renamed Simpson/Delco LLC and operate under the FNA Group umbrella.

Office Depot, Delray Beach, Fla., has expanded into the Northeast with the acquisition of Allied Office Products, Clifton, N.J. The Miami Herald notes that the acquisition will help Office Depot sell more cleaning supplies and tighten the difference between it and Staples, the No. 1 office supply retailer.'