The mysterious “orange” anchor tenant of a new business park under construction near state Highway 14 was revealed Friday. But QuoteCenter certainly doesn’t get its name because it talks a lot.
Founded a decade ago in Orchards and acquired by Home Depot four years ago, its current presence in Vancouver is little more than three nondescript suites at EastRidge Business Park. There are no company signs or logos out front.
“This has been a well-kept secret for quite some time,” said Mike Lee, manager of talent acquisition for the company.
Not for much longer.
On Friday, Home Depot announced it has broken ground on a new, 45,000-square-foot office east of the Grand Central shopping center. More than 200 people will work there, overseeing the QuoteCenter software used by professional contractors who make large product orders at Home Depot locations across the country.
Home Depot QuoteCenter currently employs 132 people, according to Lee.
The three-story office will open June 2018 and will offer ground floor retail. It will anchor the 300,000-square-foot Quad Industrial Park to be built in phases by Vancouver developer Killian Pacific.
City officials praised the move as a boon for the local economy, creating white-collar jobs that require a mix of experience. Workers at the new office will range from entry-level tech support workers to engineers, product managers and designers.
It also boosts the city’s plans to invigorate that area, the so-called “Lower Grand Employment Area,” nested between the Hudson’s Bay, Edgewood Park and Evergreen Shores neighborhoods. City staff have targeted the area as a gateway to Fort Vancouver and the downtown core.
“The city has long recognized the potential impact strategic development of this area can have for the community,” City Manager Eric Holmes said in a prepared statement.
News of the office park and its first tenant had been kept under wraps for months. The Columbian first reported on it in February when the city of Vancouver received an application for a so-called “Project Orange.”
Killian Pacific has still not revealed much about its plans for the Quad Industrial Park. Mike Bomar, president of the Columbia River Economic Development Council, said that it will house companies from the technology and life sciences sectors. An economic development study conducted by Killian Pacific said that 3,000 jobs could be located there, with an average annual wage of $69,000.
The Home Depot QuoteCenter office will not include a retail store. The Georgia-based chain already has stores located in Jantzen Beach, east Vancouver and near the intersection of Northeast Padden Parkway and Northeast Andresen Road.
“We’re thrilled to be part of the growth in Clark County and Vancouver and the team is very much looking forward to the new facility,” said Nate Copper, general manager of QuoteCenter, in a prepared statement.
QuoteCenter and Home Depot
Home Depot first tapped Copper and his software company as a vendor. At the time, the local company specialized in software that aided in the sales and manufacturing of roof trusses, Lee said.
“If (trusses) are built even slightly wrong they are nothing more than expensive firewood,” Lee said. The software helped minimize losses for Home Depot and, in February 2013, they acquired Copper’s company for its talent.
QuoteCenter’s task today is to grow software that helps professional contractors with bulk ordering. Its main function is operating a vast database of products while handling very specific requests from contractors, such as vendor or delivery instructions.
Growing that market is key to Home Depot’s plans for the future, Lee said.
“The pro contractor market is enormous. QuoteCenter is really one of the key strategies to grow that business,” he said.
According to Lee, the software division was contributing to $400 million in corporate revenue within two years of its acquisition and $650 million last year. “This year, we’re on track to blow that away,” he said.
Home Depot QuoteCenter expects to add 20 employees by the end of the year.