Manufacturer expanding operation


A partial rendering of the HexArmor building on Leffingwell Avenue. Courtesy The Right Place

A local manufacturer of industrial personal protection equipment is investing $8.7 million in an expansion.

Grand Rapids-based Performance Fabrics, or HexArmor, will be expanding to a new location at 640 Leffingwell Ave. NE in Grand Rapids, according to The Right Place yesterday.

This expansion will result in the creation of 50 jobs.

HexArmor has outgrown its current facility at 2000 Oak Industrial Dr. NE in Grand Rapids. The new location will allow the company room to grow.

The company’s growth has been driven by increased headcount, warehousing needs and a partnership with Germany-based uvex Safety Group, which has allowed HexArmor to immediately expand its portfolio and enter new markets.

The company plans to totally renovate an existing 52,000-square-foot obsolete building and take occupancy of the rehabilitated facility in early 2019. The facility will include office, warehousing and light manufacturing space.

“HexArmor is strongly committed to growth in the city of Grand Rapids, and we feel this vibrant community is the best place for both our business and employees,” said Steve VanErmen, president and CEO, HexArmor. “We’re grateful for the support of The Right Place and their partners at the MEDC and City of Grand Rapids as we enter this next phase of growth.”

The Right Place, a Grand Rapids-based economic development agency, worked with the company and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, or MEDC, to ensure HexArmor chose to expand in Grand Rapids.

The Right Place also connected HexArmor to workforce development resources at West Michigan Works! to assist with worker training. 


MEDC approved a $350,000 Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant for the project.

The City of Grand Rapids has approved an Obsolete Property Rehabilitation Act tax exemption in support of the company’s revitalization of the new facility.


HexArmor was founded in Grand Rapids in 2002 and has about 130 full-time employees.

The company provides industrial personal protection equipment, primarily offering cut- and puncture-resistant gloves and armguards, and its recent product line expansions include safety eyewear. 

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