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As published in Toledo Business Journal - April 1, 2017

Borgers invests $13M in Norwalk

Plant size to double and add new equipment

Borgers USA will double the size of its Norwalk plant with a $13 million, 150,000 square foot expansion and add new machinery to increase production.

The general contractor for this project will be Janotta & Herner, from Monroeville, Ohio, which is the same company that completed the original plant construction in 2015. Completion for the project is planned for the end of August.

“We have an expansion project, not only for Norwalk, but we are also producing the textiles for our company in Vance, Alabama,” said plant manager Jochen Harmeling. “Due to several new projects in both plants we needed to have more capacity. That’s the reason for new machinery, and the new machinery we didn’t have space for, so we needed to make an addition to our already-existing shop floor building, so in the future we’ll have double the space.”

Borgers USA Corporation is the US subsidiary of Borgers AG, an automotive supplier that manufactures acoustically efficient interior and exterior components. Products include trim, carpeting, and insulation for both passenger cars and commercial vehicles. The company celebrated its 150th anniversary in 2016, and has been manufacturing products for the automobile industry since its beginning.

“We’ve been growing significantly, especially in the last year,” said Harmeling. “2016 was our biggest growth year, and we increased personnel, investment, output, and sales.”

The Norwalk plant currently produces components exclusively for one auto supplier, but is hoping to expand its customer-base with other large American companies.

According to Harmeling, the expansion will add more of the plant’s already existing equipment for the production of textile felts for the automotive industry, as well as molding and cutting lines.

The company currently has 150 full-time employees at the Norwalk facility, and is planning to hire more to run the machinery once it is installed. Harmeling expects to have at least 220 employees by June 2018.

This expansion was supported by a Job Creation Grant Program and an Enterprise Zone Agreement through JobsOhio.

“As Borgers’ local economic development partner, Norwalk Economic Development Corporation (NEDC) assisted in securing both the Enterprise Zone Agreement and the Job Creation Grant – two crucial components to this expansion project,” said Heather Horowitz, NEDC executive director. “The expansion is good for Norwalk and the entire region because it creates additional job opportunities for the people of our city and beyond. It also strengthens the relationship between northern Ohio and the 150 year old family-owned company by making the Norwalk location their definitive North American material provider location and R&D facility.”

“We are grateful  to Borgers for their increased commitment to northeast Ohio,” said Jay Foran, senior vice president of Team NEO, northeast Ohio’s JobsOhio affiliate. “Their continued growth in Norwalk is making a positive impact in the region, bringing important investment and jobs to the area.”

“This significant win is a result of collaboration at the local, regional, and State level to ensure that Borgers selected Norwalk for this expansion,” said Mindy McLaughlin, Team NEO director of international business attraction.

Borgers has operations in 24 locations in Europe, China, and the US and employs over 7,000 worldwide. The Norwalk plant is the company’s second location in this country, along with a manufacturing facility in Vance, Alabama that supplies the Mercedes-Benz plant in Tuscaloosa, among others.

According to Borgers president and CEO Werner Borgers, a number of major factors impacted the company’s decision to locate in northwest Ohio. Norwalk’s location and its logistics benefits for both customers and suppliers was a critical factor in Borgers’ decision. In addition, the skill and work ethic of the labor force in Norwalk and northwest Ohio played an important factor in the selection of the site for this new manufacturing facility.

“Norwalk is a great location regarding logistics as it relates to our Midwest customers and the labor force is exceptional and highly motivated,” said Borgers. “In addition to that, we feel that there is a great emotional fit between the people in Norwalk and the values and characteristics of our family business.”