Newell Rubbermaid Inc. will invest $2.3 million to consolidate its product and graphic design units at one state-of-the art hub Design Center in Kalamazoo, Michigan, with plans to hire 100 employees at the Western Michigan University Business Technology and Research Park.
Rubbermaid is a global marketer of consumer and commercial products with a portfolio of leading brands, including Sharpie, Rubbermaid, Graco, Calphalon, Paper Mate, and Irwin.
"Great performance, design and innovation make all the difference between a standard product and one that wins with consumers. Our new state-of-the-art Design Center will provide a collaborative environment to help us bring our biggest and best ideas to market and better meet the needs of our consumers worldwide," said Chuck Jones, Newell Rubbermaid's chief design and research & development officer. "We thank the state of Michigan for their support and look forward to joining the Kalamazoo and Western Michigan University community, which is known for its rich pool of design talent, close partnerships between education and business, and outstanding quality of life."
"Having a world-class company such as Newell Rubbermaid choose to locate in Michigan is a great win for us and a testament to our talented workforce and the competitiveness of Michigan as a research and development hotbed," Gov. Rick Snyder said. "Newell's investment and the jobs it will generate demonstrate that bold reforms to our business climate and our state's talent are now putting Michigan at the top of the nation's best places to locate, expand and grow new jobs."
The firm said Western Michigan University’s talent pool of designers was one of the main factors in the firm choosing Kalamazoo. "Western Michigan University's Colleges of Engineering, Fine Arts and Business are tremendously interested in pursuing collaborations with Newell Rubbermaid. With this project, the current footprint of our Business Technology and Research Park is complete and the Michigan Economic Development Corp. has been a great partner every step of the way," said Bob Miller, associate vice president of Western Michigan University.
The City of Kalamazoo offered the company $164,000 in tax abatements, with the state approving a $2 million Michigan Strategic Fund grant. The facility is also located in a state Smart Zone, making it eligible for incentives.
Southwest Michigan First agreed to allocate $4 million for construction of the Newell Rubbermaid design center building, which it will lease to the company. "The Southwest Michigan Region welcomes Newell Rubbermaid, its people and their families to our community. We believe that Newell Rubbermaid will enjoy its new location here due to the fact that both the company's and region's cultures are deeply rooted in innovation and the creation of things that change peoples' lives," said Ron Kitchens, chief executive officer of Southwest Michigan First. "We look forward to watching a relationship develop between the company and region into a collaborative partnership."
"The Newell facility in Kalamazoo will further diversify Michigan's economy and provide additional high paying jobs for years to come," said MEDC President and CEO Michael A. Finney. "It is thanks to the efforts of the city of Kalamazoo, Southwest Michigan First and Western Michigan University that this project is happening here, and we are very pleased to support that collaboration."