SALEM — Two sister companies that provide safety gear to firemen and industrial workers are establishing new headquarters at 33 Northwestern Ave. in Salem in a few months.
Rick and Kevin Murphy, brothers who run Industrial Protection Products and Industrial Protection Services respectively, are relocating from their current headquarters in Wilmington, Mass., sometime in March or April.
They’ll employ about 35 people in the 20,000-square-foot Salem building, which they bought for $1.77 million from the Metzemaekers family, which owns Scott Electronics. Rick lives in Salem and Kevin is a resident of nearby Windham. Many of the employees live in New Hampshire as well.
“They feel like they’re heading home,” Rick said.
He said they’re excited to be joining such a fast-growing community. The Murphys said they will also be hiring positions for e-commerce reps, truck drivers, sales staff and service technicians.
IPS provides gear for fire departments such as self-contained breathing apparatuses, air compressors, firefighting foam and hoses. Salem will also serve as a repair center for its gear. IPP provides occupational footwear and eyewear primarily to private sector clients.
Rick said their clients include Casella Waste, Raytheon and Pratt & Whitney in Connecticut.
“National Grid is one of our largest accounts,” Rick said.
They sell out of their showrooms, but they also bring mobile stores in box trucks to their clients, where they will do shoe and eyewear fittings on-site, using licensed opticians for the latter.
“Our on-site service is really where we separate ourselves,” Rick said.
The companies were founded by Rick and Kevin’s parents, Dick and Ellen Murphy, in 1977. This is the first building they’ve owned.
Dick died two years ago, but Ellen is still an active co-owner and treasurer in the company.
They chose the building in Salem because of its size, layout, room to grow and proximity to Interstate 93.
IPP and IPS have been enjoying significant growth in the past several years, resulting in an IPP facility in Newington, Conn., and an IPS facility in South Portland, Maine. The 3,500-square-foot showroom and warehouse facility in Connecticut hosted an open house Friday .
The company employs a total of about 50 people, and has seen about 25 percent employee growth over the past five years, Rick said.
He said they expect that same growth trend to continue.
“Both of us had double digit growth last year,” Rick said of their sales.
The Wilmington facility was 12,000 square feet, and included a 700-square-foot showroom. The Murphys plan to establish another showroom at a different facility at 50 Concord St. in Wilmington after closing the old headquarters.
Kevin said the Salem building will allow them to double the warehouse space available at the Wilmington facility.
The building was financed by a loan from Northmark Bank in Massachusetts and a Small Business Association loan. They’re investing another $200,000 for renovations.
IPP’s vice president of business development Vincent Cicerchia said they are working with Liberty Utilities to change the lighting configuration and increase the building’s energy efficiency.