Business

Maker of tire sealant known as Slime moving to San Luis Obispo

Accessories Marketing Inc., best known for its tire sealant called Slime, has outgrown its Grover Beach headquarters and is set to move its 65 corporate employees to San Luis Obispo in November.

Accessories Marketing is doubling its offices with a five-year lease on a 20,000-square-foot portion of the warehouse complex at 125 Venture Drive, which also houses drone manufacturer AME Unmanned Air Systems, formerly Aeromech.

The move is the next in a series of major changes for the business, including the recent death of its CEO, Jim Cegelski, and sale to global industrial supplier Illinois Tool Works Inc. of Chicago.

Accessories Marketing is hiring and now posts annual revenues around $80 million, according to senior vice president of operations Brett Mueller, and sells its tire accessories including sealant, pressure gauges and inflator kits to mass retailers such as Walmart, Target and AutoZone. It also contracts with General Motors and Honda to provide Slime inflator kits instead of spare tires in new vehicles.

“We are considered counter-recessionary,” Mueller said, “because high fuel prices help our business.”

People are paying more attention to tire pressure, he added, which increases fuel efficiency.

The company’s story began in 1989 when Cal Poly graduate Steve Cegelski of Grover Beach tinkered in his garage to invent the bright green, nontoxic tire sealant Slime, starting a company that brought in his brothers Jim and Rodney Cegelski.

After years of rapid growth, in 2006 Accessories Marketing sold a majority stake in the company to Friend Skoler & Co. Inc., a New Jersey private equity firm. Steve Cegelski was bought out in the investment deal, according to previous Tribune reports.

Jim Cegelski remained as chief executive officer until he died of brain cancer in April 2010, a day before the pending sale of Accessories Marketing to Illinois Tool Works.

“It was very unfortunate timing,” Mueller said.

Accessories Marketing is now led by general manager Chris Auerbach as an independent division of Illinois Tool Works. Rodney Cegelski remains as executive vice president of marketing.

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