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Creative Foam continues to grow

Published 10:22am Tuesday, January 12, 2010

By JOHN EBY
Dowagiac Daily News

A tax break Dowagiac granted Monday night to Creative Foam, 55210 Rudy Road, creates five new jobs within two years while retaining 115.

Creative Foam marked its 30th anniversary in Dowagiac in 2009.

Cindy LaGrow of Coloma, executive director of the city’s economic development department, said the business started in Fenton in 1971.

“They’re a foam fabricator,” she said, “serving the medical, wind, air and auto industries. They were voted in 2008 as one of Michigan’s best companies by Corporate magazine readers based on how they treat their employees, morale, those kinds of things. The company adheres to quality, efficiency and continuous improvement. That’s why we’re here this evening. They want to reinvest in their plant again” (as Creative Foam did in January 2009) with an additional $600,944 in machinery.

“They’re going to put in some conveyor systems and a molding line to better serve their customers in this global economy,” said LaGrow, accompanied by Plant Manager David Szynski.

Council recently adopted a policy by which the amount of money invested, the total jobs created or retained, the local job component and the annual payroll would be taken into consideration when reviewing industrial facilities exemption applications.

Creative Foam’s IFT application scored a 9, making it eligible for a 12-year tax abatement.

Years 7-12 of the abatement require annual documentation that the original criteria continue to be met.

City Manager Kevin Anderson said this new investment will contribute $2,420 in new taxes for Dowagiac and an additional $2,100 for other taxing entities.

“How are you doing on space?” inquired Mayor Pro Tem Leon Laylin.
“We’re about there,” Szynski replied. “We have a little bit of room left before we’re at maximum capacity. We have property behind us if there was to be an expansion down the road. I’m not saying there’s going to be.”

Szynski told Second Ward Councilman Jim Dodd that with the automotive industry in upheaval, employment trends are “hard to predict. We were down to 30 employees at one point this year. We have everybody called back and we’ve hired.”

“Last January when we were here in front of you, they were at 98 employees,” LaGrow informed council members. “It went down because of the auto industry, but it’s back up full force plus.”

First Ward Councilman Junior Oliver asked if wind and air business has picked up.
“Actually,” Szynski said, “we don’t direct supply out of Dowagiac for wind and air. We have two other facilities. They’re a little slow right now. The automotive end of it is actually doing pretty well. We’re thinking once the banks lighten up a little bit, wind energy will take off.”

Council members were also pleased by Premier Tool and Die Cast quietly springing to life.

“I counted 26 cars there this morning,” Mayor Don Lyons said.

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