Surefil A Sure Thing

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    KENTWOOD — While the $6.2 million investment of Surefil LLC is far from the largest underway in Kentwood, the upstart contract manufacturer may have the loftiest ambitions.

    CEO Bill Hunt expects his launch to grow to 300 employees within five years. It is currently in the midst of hiring up to 75 employees to fill its 54,000-square-foot facility at 4560 and 4518 Danvers Drive SE. Only a portion of these hires will be line workers, as the firm works to fill its clerical, sales and support ranks.

    “It really only depends upon how quickly companies respond to the new capacity,” Hunt said. “We have some brand companies saying our plan is not aggressive enough.”

    The Amway alum brought together the company late last year in response to an unmet demand for contract, or private-label, filling capacity in the Great Lakes region. Surefil provides formulation support, manufacturing, supply-chain management and logistics of branded personal care and medical liquids, lotions and gels.

    The personal care industry has aggressively adopted an outsourcing model in recent years, with brand name companies dropping manufacturing assets in favor of core competencies. The $300 million Prestige Brands, for instance, manages a stable of products including Spic and Span, Chloraseptic, Denorex, Prell and Comet with no manufacturing capacity whatsoever.

    Furthermore, personal care companies are beginning to adopt the regional purchasing strategies pioneered by companies like Coca-Cola and Hostess. As this develops, Surefil’s success becomes a “sure thing,” Hunt said, with no competitors in the region.

    Hunt’s venture was financed in part by significant public assistance in the form of a $3.7 million Single Business Tax credit from the Michigan Economic Development Corp., a $338,000, 12-year tax abatement from the city of Kentwood, and a $4.3 million allocation from the MEDC’s Private Activity Bond Program. Huntington Bank underwrote the bonds. The balance of the financing was accomplished through private investors; as the company grows, Hunt expects to bring more investors into the fold.

    The facility has significant room for expansion on adjoining vacant acreage, which Hunt hopes to fill quickly as the firm’s customer base grows. The company was up and running with orders and equipment installation within days of its financing and real estate closing in late April.

    Surefil is also FDA registered to produce Type II medical devices and over-the-counter drugs. It recently filled its two-millionth bottle. 

    Kentwood Tax Abatements 2006

    Real Property

    Personal Property

    Surefil LLC

    $1,462,000

    $3,035,000

    Borish Manufacturing Group

    $750,000

    $2,618,550

    Michigan Lasercut

    $683,000

    $280,000

    Intertek ETL Entela

    $800,000

    $1,331,000

    Roskam Baking

    NA

    $10,500,000

    Advance Packaging

    $14,000,000

    $26,800,000

    Ranir DCP

    $72,000

    $4,175,000

    Swoboda

    $72,000

    $4,175,000

    Corium International

    $400,000

    $2,824,000

    American Litho

    NA

    NA

    Note: A $13.3 million investment and accompanying tax abatement for American Litho, acquired last year by Japanese imaging conglomerate Konica Minolta, was recently announced by the Michigan Economic Development Corp. as part of Gov. Jennifer Granholm’s recent trip to Japan. The company has yet to file for any incentives through the city of Kentwood, but is expected to do so.

    Source: City of Kentwood    

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