Project retains 200 manufacturing jobs at Hillyard and removes/improves former WireCo property
Hillyard Industries, a leading manufacturer and distributor of cleaning and hygiene solutions located in St. Joseph since 1907, announced in March the purchase of property owned by WireCo WorldGroup (“WireCo”), a manufacturer and distributor of wire and synthetic rope.
As part of this agreement, Hillyard will build a new manufacturing and national distribution center on 25 acres directly to the north of its current facilities.
Both companies share a commitment to the vitality of downtown St. Joseph and are making plans to preserve and promote that purpose. Hillyard has a goal to relocate and modernize its manufacturing and warehousing operations, which have been located downtown since the 1930s. Administrative offices will remain in its current location.
“WireCo has a long history in St. Joseph and we wanted that legacy preserved to the best of our ability. Hillyard Industries is a natural fit as their continued commitment to downtown and the local community is an optimal next step for the WireCo property. While we are very disappointed that our St Joseph employees are so negatively affected by the plant closing, we will be pleased to see this redevelopment come to fruition,” said Chris Ayers, CEO of WireCo.
WireCo had slowly been closing its facility in St. Joseph for the last 10 years, said R. Patt Lilly, President and CEO of the St. Joseph Chamber of Commerce. Less than 50 employees worked at the facility at the time of the March announcement.
“The big and very positive news for St. Joseph is that Hillyard will acquire the property and plans to expand in St. Joseph,” Lilly said. “The Chamber has been working with Hillyard for about six months on the project and I believe this will secure an important manufacturer in the community, provide for reuse of an old industrial area and continue the revitalization of downtown.”
Demolition and construction is slated to begin between 2019 and 2020, with the goal of Hillyard being fully operational in the new facility beginning in 2021 or 2022. WireCo plans to close its manufacturing facility, while continuing the fabrication division of its business in its current location.