Cascade's IDville revamps its image, eyes growth in workplace security sector

CASCADE TOWNSHIP - Coming off a year of 27 percent growth, a local company specializing in software, printers and equipment for ID badges is launching a revamped website and logo and dozens of new products, including its own private label.

IDville, 5380 52nd St. SE, had its start in early 2001 when its parent company, Baudville, started expanding into ID badges in addition to its core business selling employee recognition gifts and awards.

But after 9/11, the company's work took on a sense of urgency.

"It absolutely created a climate of greater security and by virtue of that motivated us to move a little faster," said Brad Darooge, president and CEO of both companies.

In 2002, the little section of Baudville's catalog became its own company, and it has been growing ever since.

"We are one of the top five distributors of hard card printing systems in the U.S.," Darooge said.

In the last year, the two companies added about a dozen positions, and more hires are planned this year. Right now, employees total 84, with about 20 dedicated to IDville.

Employees at The Rapid have been using IDville for about 21/2 years without any complaints, said Rapid spokeswoman Jennifer Kalczuk.

Employee IDs provide access to the building and certain parts of the building depending on job title, she said, and the system can produce detailed reports of who went where in the building.

"Whether you're an organization or a business, you want to know that your facility is secure, your employees are secure and in our case our passengers are secure," Kalczuk said.

On Feb. 1, IDville officially launches its new website, complete with ID Maker, its private-label system designed and developed in West Michigan and manufactured with an overseas partner.

"We have all the supplies and accessories to back those systems up, and we've also expanded our educational offerings and health care offerings," said Dan Rogers, the company's general manager.

The private label products are divided into offerings of "good, better, best," he said. Value bundles, something launched last year with great success, also are available.

One area of new products is the way people carry badges. Many badges contain digital information that can be read with scanners or readers. In some cases, the cards can hold the complete record of classes or financial information of a student or the salary, insurance or work history of an employee.

"Someone could come close to you with an RFID reader and get all the information off that card," Rogers said. "The badge holder has a shield over it," preventing unauthorized access.

Although the cards carry all that information, Rogers said, they are easily "turned off" if the card is lost or stolen.

Later this year, the company will launch more new products.

"We'll be offering biometrics in terms of access control later this year," Rogers said. "Fingerprints, retina scans, handprints. That's the way the market is going, and we're certainly on board with that. The level of security is just getting more sophisticated."

Darooge said the company plans to be one-stop shopping for security badges and accessories by eventually offering competitors' products on the website, too.

"Our site is designed to try to subtly convince shoppers that our product is the one that they want to buy," he said. "We offer free tech support for the life of the product, which is fairly unique in the industry.

"We have people to call and you'll get hold of an actual person within three rings." Darooge said Baudville still overshadows IDville in business size, but he expects that to even out.

"Baudville is still about two-thirds of the overall corporate size, but IDville has been growing about three to four times Baudville's growth rate," he said. "We certainly feel like we can have two business that are equally sized."

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