KENTWOOD — A Silicon Valley startup is relocating its operations to Kent County.
Arcanum Alloys, a producer of platform technology for customers in the appliance, automotive exhaust and building and construction industries, plans to invest $693,000 into a vacant 14,000-square foot building in Kentwood. Half of the space will be used for offices with the remainder dedicated for labs.
David Keifer, vice president of sales at Arcanum, said the expansion could create up to 25 high-tech, advanced manufacturing jobs. He said the remodeling project at 4460 44th Street, near the Gerald Ford International Airport, will be completed in roughly three weeks.
“We had to move out to Silicon Valley…” Keifer told MiBiz. “If you are a manufacturer, you don’t want to manufacture in California. It’s just too expensive. It’s expensive to get people, it’s expensive to recruit people, and taxes are expensive. It’s not really a manufacturing-friendly place. … We needed to be closer to our production partners, suppliers and our customers.”
That’s why moving the company to Michigan “made sense,” Keifer said.
Currently, the company employs seven people and works to formulate hybrid alloys using patented technology that “performs superior to what is developed today,” Keifer said.
The Grand Rapids-based development firm Robert Grooters Development Co. is working with Arcanum on the deal, and the Grand Rapids-based firm Wolverine Building Group Inc. will serve as the general contractor for the project.
“We are excited they want to work here,” Kyle Grooters, marketing manager of Robert Grooters Development, told MiBiz. “For how long this deal took place, it was well worth the while, and we see them being an integral part of the community.”
According to Grooters, the firm has been in contact with Arcanum since October 2017.
The state awarded the company a $162,500 performance-based grant via the Michigan Business Development Program. Local economic development agency The Right Place Inc. plans to offer staff time and resources in support of the project, according to a statement.
Keifer, who was born and raised in Grand Blanc, Mich., said a lot intangibles with West Michigan make it a good spot to set up shop. He added that there were other states in the mix for the site, including Ohio and Indiana, before Arcanum eventually decided on Michigan.
“Michigan has a great incentives package, great universities,” he said. “If you want to live downtown in a city atmosphere, you have a great downtown city vibe going on. If you want to be in the country, we’ve got the country and lake property. To us, (Michigan) seemed to have a lot for everybody.”