From Staff news reports
Two Schoolcraft Township industries are in the process of expansions that total nearly $6 million and will add about a dozen new jobs.
J. Rettenmaier USA and Eimo Technologies Inc. have received Public Act 198 tax breaks that give them a 50 percent discount on the expansions for 12 years for real property and six years for personal property, such as equipment.
J. Rettenmaier USA, at U.S. 131 and YZ Avenue, is proposing a $2,820,000 expansion, with most of that for a building expansion to accommodate a new research and development lab, according to documents filed with Schoolcraft Township. The company, which will retain 66 jobs at the Schoolcraft plant, will add three jobs within two years, company officials said.
“Our company is still growing, based on the quality of its products and the hard work of many people working here,” said Gerhard Goss, director of administration and controlling for J. Rettenmaier USA.
“It is probably not so much the economy picking up but the health consciousness of consumers supporting more use of our products in food applications. We want to grow with that trend and we would like to make further investments to support the growth in the food industry in America.” The company is a manufacturer of cellulose fiber from pulp used for food, industrial and pharmaceutical applications.
Eimo, at 14320 Portage Road in Vicksburg, is in the midst of a $2,876,250 expansion, with about $2 million of that for new equipment including four new injection molding machines. The building expansion of 16,000 square feet will be for warehousing. Eimo is a plastics injection molding facility for various industries including automotive and sound systems. The plant will retain 150 jobs and add nine more, company officials indicated in documents.
Gary Hallam, Eimo CEO, said the bulk of the recent growth can be attributed to a “pretty good account with consumer products for an audio system supplier” of stereo systems. “Our automotive business is growing, as well.” The expansion, he said, will basically be one-third new warehouse space, one third new equipment and the remainder a new material distribution system.
Eimo has a long history in Schoolcraft Township, starting as Triple S Plastics in 1969 and becoming Eimo in 2001. The current owner, as of 2007, is a Japanese company called Nissha Printing Co.
Both companies say they are pleased with the relationship their firms have with Schoolcraft Township. “They’ve been very supportive,” Hallam said. “They realize employers providing jobs is nothing but positive for the area.” Goss agreed. “I think we have an excellent relationship with Schoolcraft Township,” Goss said.
“I am always pleased by the professional approach the board takes and how they keep the interest of the people living in the community quite high up in their priorities.” Rettenmaier has had a good relationship with the township since its first tax exemption in 1997. The township has noted that the company not only has met its expectations for new jobs but at times has exceeded them.
For example, in its first tax break in 1997 for the first phase of its 67,000-square-foot facility manufacturing complex at a cost of $16.87 million, it promised to create 20 to 25 jobs by 1999. By July 2001, when it applied for a second exemption, it had 33 jobs. That grew to 40 in 2002, 44 in 2003, 52 in 2008, 58 in 2010, 60 in 2011 and 66 according to this year’s tax break request.
“They are an excellent company,” said Don Ulsh, Schoolcraft Township supervisor, who also had kind words to say about Eimo. “What is particularly good is that both companies will add jobs.”