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English vacuum builder makes a clean start in N.J.

Industry giant says Garden State is ripe with talented workers

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Greg McCormick with an AirRam vacuum. He says the U.S. market is primed for Gtech’s cordless technology.
Greg McCormick with an AirRam vacuum. He says the U.S. market is primed for Gtech’s cordless technology. - (AARON HOUSTON)

Greg McCormick holds a Gtech vacuum cleaner with two fingers, breezily motioning his forearm up and down.
“Most people look at it and say no way can that work like a regular vacuum, because there is not a big enough engine,” said McCormick, senior vice president and general manager for Gtech USA.
McCormick knows better.

“There is no reason you should be dragging cords around the house anymore, because the technology exists that makes that no longer necessary,” he said.

McCormick said the vacuum, dubbed the AirRam, weighs about 7½ pounds because it doesn't contain tubes and conventional hoses that suck dirt and require an engine. It has no bags or cords. The Gtech device derives power from a 22-volt lithium battery and deposits dirt into a foot-wide canister based inches above the ground.

The Britain-based parent company, which is betting U.S. consumers will embrace the product, will carry out strategy from Warren Township, where the company's new U.S. subsidiary will be based.

Gtech USA is starting small, opening a 2,000 square-foot office on Mountain Boulevard in February with a staff of five. Its hopes are big.

The company has an agreement to sell its product through retailer Brookstone, plus talks are planned later this year with Bed Bath & Beyond. Gtech also plans to spend $20 million on marketing and advertising this year to promote the AirRam, which retails for about $350.

In terms of product, the company believes American consumers are ready to embrace cordless innovations of traditionally large household appliances, just as they have done with outdoor tools.

“Given what has happened in power tools and lawn and garden-care equipment, we believe the entire floor-care category will turn to cordless technology,” McCormick said.

Gtech sells its products in 19 countries. The parent company, founded in 2001 by British entrepreneur Nick Grey, reports about $30 million in revenue and employs 50 globally.

The company is eyeing a national presence in the U.S. market that is currently led by competitors Dyson, Bissell and Hoover.

McCormick said the U.S. subsidiary plans to add another five to seven employees by the end of 2014, mostly in sales, marketing and finance. If it succeeds nationally, McCormick said the company will eventually need bigger headquarters.

E-mail to: tomz@njbiz.com
On Twitter: @biztzanki

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