Human Resources, Manufacturing, and Retail

Manufacturer ending operations

February 27, 2019
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retailer store shop clothing apparel display interior
A retail clothing display. Photo via pxhere.com

Citing a challenging retail climate, a local maker of custom-built store environments is closing up shop — a move that will leave more than 100 people out of work.

Grand Rapids-based Amstore will cease operations over the coming two-plus months at its 900,000-square-foot headquarters, which includes a production facility, at 3951 Trade Dr., according to the company yesterday.

Amstore’s team of 133 employees will complete all open orders before the Grand Rapids operation shuts down, and the company will then assist them with finding new jobs, said Mary Ann Sabo, Amstore’s spokesperson.

“We are deeply grateful to our outstanding team members for their hard work and dedication, especially at this difficult time,” Sabo said. “We will do everything in our power to take care of our customers and team members while helping them transition to new jobs."

Amstore is selling some of its assets. The Grand Rapids facility, which is its sole production site, is on the market for sale or lease.

The company also has a small sourcing office in China and “is working through next steps for that team,” Sabo said.

“For more than a century, we have successfully served leading national and international retailers from our locations in Michigan, the past decade from our Grand Rapids headquarters. But the retail landscape has changed dramatically in recent years,” Sabo said.

“We have made the difficult to decision to end manufacturing in Grand Rapids over the coming months.”

She added the company is working to develop “a new and much smaller version of the company” that can “compete effectively.” The company hopes to leverage its experience with consumer-facing environments in the new company, Sabo said.

Amstore

Amstore was founded in 1914 by the Kaufman family, including the late Richard Kaufman, who helped establish Grand Valley State University and the Sylvia and Richard Kaufman Interfaith Institute at GVSU. He died last year at 91.

The company designs, engineers, manufactures and supplies store equipment and related services, including technology features, to retailers and brands.

It is led by CEO Greg Kaufman, son of Richard Kaufman.

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