Business expansions, community development projects bring new private investment and jobs to Michigan

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

• Three business expansions will create 326 jobs around Michigan • Support for community revitalization projects in Charlotte, Houghton, Mason will generate up to $1.4 million in private investment

LANSING, Mich. – Three business expansions and three community revitalization projects that will generate up to $18.6 million in private investment and create 326 jobs have received Michigan Strategic Fund support, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation announced today.

“Today’s MSF actions continue to help fuel new economic activity across Michigan, strengthening our communities and creating good jobs for our residents. It is through the effort of public-private partnerships that today’s projects are taking place, and we’re pleased to be a part of the collaboration to bring these projects to fruition,” said Jeff Mason, CEO, Michigan Economic Development Corporation, the state’s chief marketing and business attraction arm that administers programs and performs due diligence on behalf of the MSF.

“The decision by these three companies to expand in Michigan underscores our business-friendly environment and the strength of our talented workforce,” he said.

BISSELL Inc., established in Grand Rapids in 1876 based upon a patent received for the carpet sweeper, focuses on developing innovative floor care solutions that make cleaning easier. The floor care business includes the contract manufacturing of its respective cleaning devices abroad, as well as the formulation and bottling of related cleaning solutions at its factory in the city of Walker. Bissell continues to grow and plans to add 25,000 square feet of office space at its corporate headquarters in Walker, which will allow for planned growth through 2020 and beyond. The project is expected to generate $10 million in private investment and create 100 jobs, resulting in a $500,000 Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant. Michigan was chosen over competing sites in Illinois and North Carolina. The city of Walker has offered a 50-percent property tax abatement in support of the project. Individuals interested in careers with BISSELL should visit       

PJ Wallbank Springs, Inc., founded in 1982, is the global leader in clutch return technology, specializing in spring pack design and manufacturing for automatic transmissions. As an engineering-focused company, the organization started by designing and building its own proprietary manufacturing equipment to produce its spring packs, a strategy it still utilizes today. The company currently exports more than 50 percent of its sales outside of the United States, with roughly 20 percent of its export volume being shipped to China.

PJWS was awarded a $350,000 Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant in December 2016 for an expansion at its existing facility in the city of Port Huron, a project that was expected to create 68 jobs and generate private investment of $803,000. The company has been awarded new contracts and is expanding beyond the original scope of the project by acquiring an additional facility, in lieu of expanding its existing facility, and purchasing new equipment. The expanded project will generate an additional capital investment of $2.4 million and create 40 additional jobs, resulting in an increase of its original MBDP grant by $205,880. Michigan was chosen for the expansion over competing sites in Germany and China.

“It is great to see to see the continued growth of P.J. Wallbank Springs, Inc., in the Port Huron Industrial Park,” said Mayor Pauline Repp. “The company has nearly 40 years of history in Port Huron and it seems like every year the company is expanding or improving their business operations and proudly showcasing Michigan-made products manufactured in the greater Port Huron region.”

The city of Port Huron is supporting the project by providing a new safety crossing connecting the company’s two facilities. 

“The Port Huron region continues to be a focal point for manufacturing growth,” said Dan Casey, CEO of the Economic Development Alliance of St. Clair County. “We’re excited to see P.J. Wallbank Springs solidify its position in the community with its planned new investment and jobs, and we congratulate them on their success.”

P.J. Wallbank Springs, Inc., will be seeking 40 new employees and will be hosting a job fair on March 23 from 8am to 1pm at PJWS Headquarters, located at 2121 Beard Street in Port Huron. For information on careers with P.J. Wallbank Springs, Inc., visit:

Truck-Lite Co., a subsidiary of diversified transportation company Penske Company, was founded in 1955 and is headquartered in Falconer, New York. The company, now operating internationally with 3,000 employees, is a global leader in heavy-duty lighting, telematics, engine protection, and safety and visibility systems for the auto, heavy-duty truck, off-marine and other vehicle markets. Truck-Lite plans to relocate its headquarters to the city of Southfield in order to be closer to the supply chain and have better access to qualified talent. The project is expected to generate a total private investment of $4 million and create 95 jobs, resulting in an $855,000 Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant. Michigan was chosen over competing sites in Pittsburg and New York.

“We are excited about the prospect of Truck-Lite relocating to the City of Southfield,” commented Mayor Kenson Siver. “Their selection of Southfield as their new base of operations clearly illustrates that we are open for business and continue to be one of southeast Michigan’s leading business centers. This project will result in almost $4 million investment and the addition of 95 new jobs in Southfield. We welcome Truck-Lite to the thriving Southfield business community and wish them much future success!”

The city of Southfield has offered a potential tax abatement for qualified investment, expedited permitting, a job fair, and staff assistance in support of the project. Individuals interested in careers with Truck-Lite should visit

“Truck-Lite Co. is an acknowledged global leader in the creation of a number of safety and visibility systems that support the automotive and heavy-duty truck industries, and we applaud its decision to relocate its headquarters to Southfield,” Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson said. “Oakland County prides itself on its skilled and educated workforce, which we believe will serve Truck-Lite well in Southfield. Congratulations.”

The city of Charlotte received $200,000 in Community Development Block Grant funds for the historic Beach Market Renovations Project in downtown Charlotte. The city, in cooperation with the Friends of Beach Market nonprofit organization, plans to renovate and restore the market as a historic structure within a historic district. When completed, the building will serve as a space for community events and concerts and a venue for an open-air farmers market twice a week. The CDBG funds will be used to eliminate blight at the site. The Friends of Beach Market will contribute $220,925 which will be used to create a pavilion-like structure over the open, central area of the market space and make historically-appropriate renovations to the building.

The city of Houghton has been awarded $605,750 in CDBG funds for acquisition and architectural/engineering work needed for the Copper Range Depot project located at 301 W. Lakeshore Drive in downtown Houghton. The project includes the historic renovation of a long-vacant, underutilized space into a restaurant, office space and two residential units. The project will restore the character and historical appearance of the property while attracting new customers and visitors to the area. It is expected to generate 23 full-time equivalent jobs and activate 11,000 square feet of space. CDBG-eligible activities include acquisition and architectural/engineering work. Local match activities to be completed include $10,000 of public infrastructure improvements. Private match activities to be completed include acquisition, rehabilitation, machinery and equipment, furniture and fixtures, and site improvements. The city expects this project could result in private investment of $908,963.

The city of Mason has been awarded $443,298 in CDBG funds for rehabilitation of the 402 Kean Building located in downtown Mason. The Wren development project includes extensive renovations for two new apartments, a new restaurant and a commercial space to the most visible corner of the downtown. A major focus of the project is energy efficient renovation materials for the building, the entire storefront and roof will be refurbished, and three faces of the building will undergo a complete renovation of brick. A renovated balcony will be brought up to code, and fire suppression and new stairway access will be added. The city expects this project could result in private investment of $445,797.

About Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC)

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation is the state’s marketing arm and lead advocate for business development, job awareness and community development with the focus on growing Michigan’s economy. For more information on the MEDC and our initiatives, visit For Pure Michigan® tourism information, your trip begins at Join the conversation on: Facebook Instagram LinkedIn, and Twitter.