Wolverine Worldwide winds down distribution center
After about two decades of residency, Wolverine Worldwide is preparing to bid adieu to a distribution center in the area — which will become the home of a local packaging supplier.
The Rockford-based footwear and clothing maker will wind down and close its Cedar Springs distribution center, at 660 West St., by the end of 2017, said Chris Hufnagel, head of strategy, investor relations and communications at Wolverine Worldwide, today.
“We will continue operations to the end of 2017, so it’s almost a three-year notice. This is not happening immediately,” Hufnagel said.
Wolverine, which went live in the building in 1996, will soon be phasing out of the distribution center, making way for the property’s acquirer, Display Pack.
Display Pack makes packaging products from plants in Grand Rapids and California.
Display Pack could have a footprint in the building as early as 2016, said Victor Hansen, president of Display Pack.
The approximately 350,000-square-foot Cedar Springs property, which also has an approximately 45,000-square-foot mezzanine, provides jobs for about 90 Wolverine employees, Hufnagel said.
Those employees will be offered the chance to interview for jobs at Wolverine’s other facilities and interview for positions with Display Pack.
In Grand Rapids, Display Pack employs about 225 people and about 270 seasonally. The company is looking to add about 50 jobs by the time it fully moves into the Cedar Springs site, or mid 2018, Hansen said.
Hansen also predicts some of Display Pack’s current employees will not want to commute to Cedar Springs after the move, meaning Display Pack could need to fill a total of 80 jobs. Some of those openings will likely be filled by former Wolverine employees.
“In an ideal world, it’d be great if they all came over to us, but I certainly can’t promise,” Hansen said.
Wolverine consolidates after growth
The reason for Wolverine’s departure is that over the last couple of years, Wolverine Worldwide has doubled the size of its company and after reviewing its strategic distribution footprint, it is now looking at consolidating, Hufnagel said.
The products that normally go through the Cedar Springs distribution center will be shifted to other Wolverine locations: Rockford, Howard City, Louisville, Ky. and Brookville, Ohio.
New home for Display Pack
Display Pack is in need of a new home after recently selling its current home, a five story, 375,000-square-foot building in Grand Rapids, at 1340 Monroe Ave. NW, to Naperville, Ill.-based Franklin Partners earlier this year. Display Pack has occupied the building since 1979.
Franklin Partners is considering using the building as either a high-tech office space or an apartment building.
“Moving to Cedar Springs is the end game for Display Pack,” Hansen said. “We have no more space, and we’re growing, so we have to do what’s best for the company.
“It’s a four-way win. It’s a win for Grand Rapids. . . . . It’s a win for Cedar Springs. . . . And it’s also a win for Wolverine and Display Pack.”