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Tag Archive | "The Right Place"

New manufacturing facility coming to Cedar Springs

J-Star‘s new facility will manufacture linear motion and lifting systems for the office furniture industry.

J-Star Motion Corp. adding 122 jobs; investing $4.9m in manufacturing facility

On Wednesday, August 30, The Right Place, Inc., in collaboration with the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC), announced a local Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) by Chinese furniture component manufacturer Jiecang Linear Motion Technology Co., Ltd. The company, operating in the United States as J-Star Motion Corporation, will establish a new manufacturing facility at an existing location in Cedar Springs, Michigan. The company intends to hire 122 employees and invest $4.9 million.

The company recently opened office and warehouse facilities at 83 South Main Street, Kent City, and with a new available site, is adding manufacturing operations at 500 West Street, in Cedar Springs (in what was the Wolverine building). The company will inhabit the north side of the building. Display Pack is located on the south side.

The new facility will support J-Star’s American business growth, which centers on making linear motion and lifting systems for the office furniture industry.

The MEDC is supporting the expansion effort with the approval of a $738,000 Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant.

“Securing this new Chinese Foreign Direct Investment is significant for our region,” said Birgit Klohs, President & CEO, The Right Place, Inc. “The investment reaffirms that West Michigan is a global destination for international investment and business expansion.”

J-Star has maintained a small presence in the country since 2014 when it opened warehouse and administrative offices in Southern California, which is still serves as its American headquarters.

Parent company Jiecang Linear Motion Technology Co., Ltd was established in 2000 in Xinchang, China as an original equipment manufacturer of linear actuators and lifting columns. Due to the company’s high standards, its products quickly became globally respected for use in medical and home care equipment. With an annual production capacity of 600,000 actuators – lifting columns and 200,000 control boxes, Jiecang has become a leading supplier for companies around the world.

The company had considered expanding closer to its California base, but The Right Place was able to build a business case and convince J-Star leaders that the region’s historically-significant furniture manufacturing roots were worth exploring.

“West Michigan was identified as an excellent location due to the proximity to many of the leading office furniture manufacturers and the skilled manufacturing talent available in this area,” said Michael Fedrigo, General Manager, J-Star Motion Corporation. “The support available through The Right Place and the MEDC was a significant factor in their final site selection.”

J-Star is in the process of building its team and hopes to begin local production by mid-2018.

The Right Place, Inc., is a regional nonprofit economic development organization founded in 1985 and supported through investments from the private and public sector. Its mission is to promote economic growth in the areas of quality employment, productivity, and technology in West Michigan by developing jobs through leading business retention, expansion and attraction efforts.

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Kent County Broadband committee seeks input 


GRAND RAPIDS–Technology is a critical part of education, providing information and staying in touch with loved ones. As technology evolves, access to broadband is important to all households. Kent County staff are working with The Right Place, Inc. and the Kent County Broadband Committee, a group of local community leaders with a common mission of enhancing and expanding broadband access, adoption and use throughout the County for the benefit of local residents and businesses.

The Committee is partnering with Connect Michigan and their “Connected Community” program to examine broadband accessibility in Kent County, and establish a broadband planning process and plan to address the current and future broadband needs. In order to meet their goals, Connect Michigan is asking for the public to complete a survey to recognize existing resources and capabilities currently in place that support the access, adoption and use of broadband technology in local homes and businesses. “Using several audience-specific surveys to gather this information, these results will be used to develop action plans to address recognized needs as part of the recently formed Kent County Broadband Initiative,” said Dan Manning, Community Technology Advisor for Connect Michigan. “Our ‘Connected Community’ program also includes a certification program to formally recognize those communities that excel in their assessment based on their demonstrated success with broadband access, adoption and use.”

Having a baseline is important to moving forward. “Broadband is vital for so many businesses and households,” said Jim Saalfeld, Chair of the Kent County Board of Commissioners. “Because Kent County has such a diverse landscape – urban, suburban and rural, with each having unique infrastructure – knowing current accessibility or potential problem spots will help us plan for the future.”

The jobs market of the future in Kent County relies on robust technology. “Business access to broadband today is just as critical as access to traditional infrastructure like roads, water, and power,” said Birgit Klohs, President and CEO, The Right Place, Inc. “To compete for the high tech jobs and companies of tomorrow, our region needs fast, reliable access to broadband today.”

After a structured evaluation of this assessment, the committee can develop action plans and projects to improve the broadband environment most effectively. The survey is open until May 27 and only takes ten

minutes to complete. You can take the survey as a resident, as a business owner or as a designated representative of another organization. The survey is online at http://connectmycommunity.org/kent-county/ or you can get a hard copy from any township, city or village office in Kent County.


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