Door and entryways manufacturer Special-Lite is expanding its operations in Benton Harbor, Michigan. The project is expected to generate a total private investment of $2.3 million and create 60 new jobs over a two-year period.
According to company officials, Special-Lite is experiencing significant growth and plans to expand the capabilities at its manufacturing facility, a project that will include moving the production line from its facility in Arkansas and require additional upgrades inside and out. As a result of the expansion and job creation, the company has been awarded a $300,000 Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant.
“We are very excited about the expansion of our Benton Harbor manufacturing operations and the positive impact it will have on the community. We are also very appreciative of all that our Marshall, Arkansas team has done in support of the transfer as they continue to support our customers,” said Steven Benscoter, President, Special-Lite. “One of the keys to our success is the ability to attract talent and we are counting on our partnership with the Cornerstone Alliance and MEDC to support our efforts in this area.”
The project aligns with Michigan Economic Development Corporation's strategic goals of providing jobs in an economically disadvantaged area of Michigan, state officials said. In addition, it will impact the region by providing immediate job growth and training for job seekers who are completing education or those with little to no manufacturing experience. Special-Lite plans to continue utilizing the Van Buren County Technical Center’s co-op assignment program and job fairs in recruiting talent.
“Special-Lite’s continued growth in Michigan means good jobs for our residents and further underscores the strength of the state’s manufacturing talent,” said MEDC Chief Business Development Officer and Executive Vice President Josh Hundt. “We’re pleased to work with Cornerstone Alliance and other local partners to support the investment by this long-standing Michigan company, and look forward to working with them as they continue to expand and add jobs in Michigan.”
Special-Lite, Inc., founded in Decatur in 1971 as Decatur Quality Glass, manufactures engineered architectural products including commercial entrance systems, interior aluminum framing with swing or sliding doors, and fiberglass-reinforced restroom partitions. The company’s headquarters are still in Decatur with additional facilities in Benton Township and Marshall, Arkansas.
“This project is evidence of the high-skilled labor pool in the Berrien County area, as well as Michigan’s strong business climate,” said Cornerstone Alliance Business Development Manager Cathy Tilley. “The Michigan Economic Development Corporation put together a competitive offer that convinced the company to create jobs in Michigan instead of Arkansas.”