From start-ups to family-owned companies that have spanned generations, Macomb County is known for our businesses successes. Our companies are household names, with brands and products consumers trust.
These successes don’t just happen by accident. Our region is home to a rich and diverse talent pool ready to put nose to the grindstone to get the job done. In Macomb County, we celebrate success. Read about how companies from different industries and different sizes are succeeding in Macomb County. Ready to join this list?
In 2016, Jessica and David Youngblood decided to turn its family-owned and operated farm (corn, soybean, and Christmas tree), that started in 1945 and spanned across five generations, into the first commercial vineyard in southeast Michigan. Various team members from Macomb County Planning and Economic Development (MCPED) helped facilitate meetings and materials necessary to gain approvals from Ray Township, the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and the Liquor Control Commission.
In 2019, Youngblood Vineyards started bottling and selling their 100 percent estate-grown grape-based wine (not from kits), which is the only one in the state that carries the Pure Michigan trademark label (100 percent of the product is locally sourced).
Flex N Gate Shelby, established in 1956 and headquartered in Urbana, IL, is a supplier of bumpers, exterior trim, lighting, aluminum and steel modular stamped body in white and chassis assemblies, and other OEM automotive products. Flex N Gate has a new contract to supply bumpers for truck products which will consolidate assembly and sequencing under one roof for front and rear bumpers. The company plans to lease space in a build-to-suit facility in Shelby Township, investing $11 million and creating 242 jobs. As a result, the company has been awarded a $900,000 Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant. Michigan was chosen over a competing site in Illinois. The city is offering support to the project in the form of property tax abatement. Individuals interested in career opportunities with Flex N gate should visit: http://jobs.flex-n-gate.com/jobs.
Approved tax abatements will enable GM to earn a return more quickly on its upgrade of the 710-acre campus where the bulk of its engineering, advanced technology and safety research is focused. The U.S. Department of the Interior last year certified the tech center as a National Historic Landmark.
The massive project is the first widespread upgrade of facilities at the 326-acre complex, designed by world-renowned architect Eero Saarinen which opened in 1956. It includes:
- Construction of new design studios and a new parking deck for design employees.
- Rebuilding and renovating some existing research and development facilities.
- A new multi-story information technology building adjacent to the current Michigan IT Innovation Center and a new parking deck.
- New testing areas at the Advanced Energy Center.
- Extensive office upgrades.
KUKA Systems North America will invested more than $10 million in its Clinton Township operations to meet increased demand for products. The expansion will created more than 100 new jobs.
KUKA Systems is a global supplier of assembly and welding systems, as well as other related machinery, for the automotive, aerospace, alternative energy and manufacturing industries. Its parent company, KUKA Group was founded in Germany in 1898. Today the company has more than 3,500 employees in 15 countries worldwide.
“Macomb County has proven to be an efficient place for KUKA Aerospace to grow,” said Robert Reno, Group Vice President for KUKA Systems. “As a hub for tooling and technology innovation, the workforce here is experienced and talented. The support of local government makes Macomb County a great place to work and grow a business.”
Staff from the Macomb County Department of Planning & Economic Development worked with company officials to help them achieve their goals for growth. Together, they identified possible assistance and incentive programs. As a result, the Michigan Business Development Program awarded a $900,000 performance-based grant to the company. The Charter Township of Clinton offered a property tax abatement. The Macomb-St. Clair ton Township Workforce Development Board will help to find and screen candidates for the new jobs to be created.
Yanfeng, which established its first location in Harrison Township in 2010, decided to expand and promised to invest $56.6 million to renovate a previously vacant building on Executive Drive. The expansion is expected to create 519 jobs over the next years. Yanfeng currently employs about 130 workers, county planning officials said.
“This expansion will be a significant investment to our headquarters here in Harrison Township,” said David Wang, company president. “This is going to dramatically improve the appearance and functionality of our operations.”
Yanfeng USA has been operational in the U.S. market since 2010, with two facilities in the state of Michigan, Harrison Township and Warren. These facilities currently support Chrysler and GM programs.YF USA’s parent company, Yanfeng Visteon, employs more than 30,000 associates and operates more than 100 facilities around the world, including in China, USA, Germany and India. Yanfeng Visteon is a leading automotive component supplier, founded in 1994 as a joint-venture between Ford and Shanghai Automotive Industrial Company. The company’s US sales are approximately $7.2 billion USD in 2012. Its product solution categories range across interiors, seating, electronics, exteriors, and safety systems.
National Coney Island opened its first store at the Macomb Mall in 1965. Today, its delicious dogs, Hani’s™ and gyros are served up at some 20 restaurants across the region. Long headquartered in Roseville, the company recently announced plans to make room for its chili production operations on their grounds at Groesbeck and Martin.
Jason Friedmann, community and economic development director for the city, confirms that the company will invest an estimated $3 million to expand space and bring in machinery. The move will bring 18 current employees from their existing food processing plant in Detroit.
Jack Johns, senior economic development specialist with the department, worked with company officials to help them access programs for making the investment work. Primarily, the department supported the company in their quest to have an Industrial Development District established. This made it possible for a Industrial Facilities Tax Exemption to be granted by the state of Michigan. This designation means that the company will save 50 percent of the taxes on the new investment.
Johns also referred the company to other resources to help with their expansion plans including small business financing, process flow, networking opportunities and procurement events.
Great Fresh Foods is the brand-new sister company of the well-established Garden Fresh Gourmet—the salsa sensation out of Ferndale that has taken the salsa industry by storm. In a few short years, Garden Fresh Gourmet has grown from its humble beginnings to become the largest fresh salsa company in North America. It carries several gourmet lines including hummus, tortilla chips, guacamole, dips and salad dressings.
Co-founders Jack and Annette Aronson have expanded into new territory with their line of gourmet stuffed burgers and meatballs. Having already mastered a state-of-the-art, high-pressure process that enables them to provide fresh products that are preservative-free, they have applied the process to their new company’s products as well. The result is a delicious, never-frozen entrée that is ready to eat after one minute in the microwave.
In April of 2014, Great Fresh Foods acquired a 12,000-square-foot facility in Clinton Township. They employ a staff of 15 and are currently accepting applications. After obtaining final approval from the United States Department of Agriculture, Great Fresh Foods is scheduled to have products on the shelves as soon as next week.
Choosing to locate Great Fresh Foods within Macomb County put the up-and-coming company on the Department of Planning and Economic Development’s (MCPED) radar. Senior Economic Development Specialists Camille Silda and Jack Johns reached out to the company to offer assistance. They were able to refer valuable resources to the business and put them in touch with development partners Michigan Works and Macomb Community College. MCPED also worked as a liaison between Great Fresh Foods and Consumers Energy to get the Clinton Township facility up and running. Preparing an Industrial Facilities Exemption tax abatement was another service MCPED provided.