Economic Development, Human Resources, and Manufacturing

Signage supplier invests $4.1M in expansion, 50 jobs

August 6, 2014
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A maker of pressure-sensitive materials for various signage applications is investing $4.175 million to expand and create jobs.

Growth

James Clay, owner of General Formulations in the Village of Sparta, said his business has been growing steadily for the past decade, and he anticipates that growth to continue.

Part of the company’s investment will include building a new pressure-sensitive adhesive coater and adding additional finishing equipment at its site, at 309 South Union St. NW.

Jobs

General Formulations plans to add 50 new jobs over three years in response to its growth.

Those jobs will include adhesive coater operators, finishing operators, shipping and office jobs.

Operational efficiency

General Formulations is also seeking to connect with nearby Continental Identification Projects. Both businesses are operated by parent company Celia Corporation.

The companies are located across the street from one another.

“We do the adhesive coating on one side of the street, and on the other side of the street we do our finishing,” Clay said.

General Formulations is in the process of getting approval from the Village of Sparta to close South Union, a public roadway, so it can then build a connecting structure between the two buildings that would allow for more efficient transportation between the buildings and add manufacturing space.

Currently, General Formulations has to truck product across the street to Continental, an onerous and inefficient process.

“By closing down the street, we then can just connect the two buildings, and it will go through the building by hi-lo or another method we end up using,” Clay said.

He noted the company has considered several options and believes closing the street would be its best option.

If the roadway project is approved, General Formulations would begin phase one of the multi-phase project, which includes the relocation of public and private utilities along the street.

Clay couldn’t provide a timeline for the project yet, but said he expects the work on phase one to take 12 to 18 months.

Vacant land

The company is also working on an agreement to purchase vacant land behind General Formulations.

Clay said no specific plans have been made for development on that parcel, but it’s a forward-thinking move, if the company finds it needs to expand farther.

Incentives

General Formulations is receiving a $233,000 performance-based grant from the Michigan Strategic Fund under the Michigan Business Development Program for its expansion, according to the The Right Place in Grand Rapids, a regional economic development nonprofit.

The company is also seeking a property tax abatement from the Village of Sparta. 

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