Speedrack plans $65M expansion in Walker

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In addition to a capital investment of nearly $65 million, the expansion will bring more than 160 jobs to the area. Courtesy The Right Place

A Sparta-based pallet racking and storage company is spending $65 million to expand in Walker.

The Right Place, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) and the city of Walker said Monday that Speedrack Products Group Ltd. will expand its Michigan operations to a new facility at 3060 South Industrial Drive NW in Walker.

A groundbreaking ceremony was held today at the site. Construction is expected to begin full swing in September. Grand Rapids-based Visser Brothers Construction is the contractor on the project.

In addition to a capital investment of nearly $65 million, the expansion will bring more than 160 jobs to the area.

During the past 20 years, Speedrack has manufactured its products in Michigan between two industrial sites. Its Quincy operation is the flagship plant and was the company’s first in the state; its second facility in Litchfield was developed and opened for production just four years ago. Speedrack currently employs nearly 300 people between its three Michigan locations.

E-commerce serves as one of Speedrack’s largest growth markets with customers including Amazon, GAP, Chewy and more. Other consumer goods market customers include Ford, General Motors, Medline, Caterpillar (CAT) and the furniture industry.

To meet the growing demand from these customers, the company’s new Walker facility will offer 275,000 square feet of additional manufacturing space.

“Our customers, particularly those in the e-commerce industry, have seen a significant increase in sales over the past several years, and so Speedrack has invested and grown in order to support that growth,” Speedrack President Eric Quist said. “We recognized that if we were going to continue to meet this new demand, we needed to expand our manufacturing footprint. Thanks to the support provided by The Right Place with their partners at the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, we were able to focus our growth here in West Michigan, for which we are thrilled.”

The Right Place worked closely with Speedrack, the MEDC and the city of Walker to ensure the company continued its growth in the region rather than out-of-state locations. The MEDC is supporting the expansion with the approval of an $820,000 Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant. The city of Walker also has approved a P.A. 198 tax abatement in support of the expansion.

“This is a considerable win for the greater Grand Rapids region and another nod to the health and strength of our business environment,” The Right Place President and CEO Randy Thelen said. “Our regional economy has strong roots in manufacturing, and Speedrack’s decision to expand its presence in our region is a testament to the resilience and continued prosperity within this industry.”

Walker City Manager Darrel Schmalzel said he is looking forward to Speedrack joining the city’s business community.

“Speedrack has an incredible growth story, and residents of our community will benefit greatly from the company’s decision to continue that growth here in the city of Walker,” he said. “We look forward to supporting Speedrack as they work toward establishing their new facility here.”

Added Gary Carey, Walker’s mayor: “We are very excited to welcome Speedrack and their employees to Walker. Their decades of successful experience providing customized solutions to their customers’ needs and challenges aligns with how the city of Walker works with its businesses and residents. Speedrack will be a welcome addition to a thriving and rapidly growing industrial area in our city.”

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer voiced her support for the project.

“Speedrack Products’ investment in Walker will create important jobs in our manufacturing sector and help us continue our economic jumpstart and put Michigan back to work,” she said. “This new facility strengthens Speedrack’s presence in West Michigan and further underscores the importance of our state’s talented manufacturing workforce. With the help of companies like Speedrack, we can build back our state’s economy stronger than ever before.”

Quentin Messer Jr., incoming CEO of the MEDC and president and chair of the Michigan Strategic Fund, said “Michigan is grateful for the Speedrack team’s continued vote of confidence in Michiganders.”

“We are proud to send the message that Michigan’s economy is recovering, and we are going to keep this momentum going. Michigan is a place where businesses, communities and people can take risks, succeed and grow,” he said. “We appreciate the efforts of The Right Place and local partners in Walker to support this project and will work with Speedrack as it continues to grow and add jobs for Michigan residents.”

Speedrack

Speedrack Products Group is a manufacturer of storage products, including roll-formed steel and structural selective pallet racks, modules, drive-in, push-back and cantilever systems.

The company began pioneering modern storage systems in 1954 after launching vertical storage racks for manufacturers in Skokie, Illinois. It is a charter member of the Rack Manufacturers Institute (RMI), formed in 1958.

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