Grand Rapids-based metal stamper and fabricator Proos Manufacturing Inc. is doubling the square footage it leases at the firm’s facility on Oak Industrial Drive.
The expansion marks the start of a three-year plan for the Grand Rapids-based firm to grow sales, increase capacity and eventually move all operations out of its existing Michigan Street site to a new or renovated space in the greater Grand Rapids area, said CEO Amy Proos.
“The goal of our three-year plan is to consolidate the manufacturing operations on Michigan Street and the fabrication operations on Oak Industrial in the same facility,” Proos said. “We’re looking at all options right now. We’re looking at the viability of Oak Industrial, moving to a new location or even the possibility of building a brand new site.”
The company announced today that it is investing $5.7 million in Grand Rapids and plans to add 50 jobs to its existing 83-employee workforce. The state is supporting that growth with a $200,000 performance-based Michigan Business Development Program grant from the Michigan Economic Development Corp. as part of a $715,000 incentive package, The Right Place Inc. announced today.
While the company is investing in renovations at its Oak Industrial Drive location, Proos Manufacturing’s headquarters will remain at 1037 Michigan Street NE in Grand Rapids, but that might soon change, Proos said.
Increased opportunity from new customers and improved sales in fabrication are driving the firm’s growth, which caused executives to pull forward its three-year investment and expansion plan that was initially slated to start in 2017. That plan kicks off with the facilities investment, she said.
Last year, the company generated $13 million in sales and is projecting $19 million this year, a 46.1-percent increase. The company has consistently experienced 30-percent growth over the last three years, and that performance has enabled the manufacturer to invest in new equipment, Proos said.
“We’ve always grown our business based on our customer relationships and we’re seeing more opportunities to assist customers with any obstacles they’re facing. It’s very organic growth off our base,” Proos said. “But we’re also getting work that we weren’t expecting from out of state.”
The company recently signed contracts with a new industrial client in Ohio, Proos noted.
With new work rolling in, the company will have to ramp up hiring plans with another 20-25 new employees this year, she said. Proos Manufacturing currently employs 83 people between its two facilities.
The company could decide by the end of April what its long-term consolidation plans are, Proos added.
“We’re using the time now to analyze the numbers and make a decision on whether to buy or to build,” she said.
The manufacturer has had conversations with a number of parties interested in buying its main 65,000-square-foot location on Michigan Street and converting it into some sort of mixed-use development, Proos said.
The Michigan Street corridor where the factor is based is a focus area for the city of Grand Rapids. City officials and area stakeholders are nearing the final stages of a three-year study that is expected to guide future development and transportation initiatives along the corridor.
“Something will happen with the Michigan Street facility, but it’s too early to know what the future holds for that location,” Proos told MiBiz. “We’ve had conversations about what may be a good fit for that location, but (it’s) definitely not industrial.”