By Dennis Seid
SHANNON – Automotive supplier Grammer Inc., is building its new U.S. headquarters to the Tupelo-Lee Industrial Park South and creating 650 jobs.
The project, valued at $30 million over five years, will be done in two phases, officials said.
The company is moving into a 75,000-square-foot building in the industrial park, and it should be operational by the end of the year.
Grammer Inc., now based in Hudson, Wisc., is a U.S. subsidiary of Germany-based Grammer AG. It supplies automotive interiors and seating systems for commercial vehicles.
“Today is a great day for Lee County and the state of Mississippi, as we demonstrate continued manufacturing excellence in Mississippi,” said Gov. Phil Bryant. “I am excited to welcome Grammer as Mississippi’s newest business partner, and I thank the company for choosing to locate its U.S. headquarters here and provide so many new job opportunities for the area’s workers.”
The news comes on the heels of last week’s announcement that Lane Furniture Industries is closing its manufacturing plant in the north Lee County city of Saltillo. About 480 workers will be laid off by March 21.
The Grammer announcement also comes two days after Bryant announced 80 new jobs were coming with the eighth expansion of General Atomics, an advanced technology company and defense contractor, whose facilities are across the street from Grammer’s new facility in the same industrial park.
Bryant said Grammer’s announcement is a testament to the state’s role in the automotive industry. Mississippi is home to two major automotive assembly plants – Nissan in Canton and Toyota in Blue Springs. Dozens of suppliers also make their home in the Magnolia State.
Said Bryant, “Our automotive industry has seen amazing growth in recent years, and Grammer’s announcement today further positions Mississippi as a key player in the Southern Automotive Corridor. I thank the team at Grammer for demonstrating to the world that Mississippi is a great place for business.”
Grammer AG , of Amberg, Germany, has two major divisions:
» Automotive, which supplies headrests, armrests, center consoles, head restraint systems, integrated child safety seats and side cushions to vehicle manufacturers.
» Seating Systems, which provides driver’s seats for trucks and off-road vehicles, including tractors and agricultural machinery, construction machinery and forklifts, as well as driver and passenger seating for regional and high-speed long-haul trains, coaches and buses.
Grammer AG – the “AG” stands for Aktiengesellschaft, meaning stock-owned company – was founded in 1880 as a saddlery by Willibald Grammer. In 1954, his son Georg discovered a way to fit a seat made of rubber foam and artificial leather into the sheet metal of a tractor. From there, the company expanded globally and become a premier seating and interior supplier. With 30 plants and sales offices worldwide, the company generates more than $1.5 billion in sales.
Its U.S. subsidiary, Grammer Inc., has been in the North American market for more than 35 years
Hartmut Mueller, Grammer AG’s chief executive officer, said the company chose Lee County after a “thorough evaluation of different opportunities.”
“This is the perfect fit for our North American activities,” he said. “I would like to thank Lee County and the State of Mississippi for this great opportunity and the Mississippi Development Authority for their great support during this project.”
MDA provided assistance in helping build the facility, and also provided help to move equipment to the site, for workforce training and to help build the second phase of the facility.
Lee County also provided assistance, officials said.
“We are always glad to offer support to help bring great companies such as Grammer to our state, and we are honored to welcome them as the newest member of the Mississippi business community,” said MDA Executive Director Brent Christensen. “Businesses from around the world recognize that Mississippi offers a favorable, supportive business environment, and it is due in part to the great economic development professionals found throughout the state. We thank our partners in Lee County and at the Community Development Foundation for working with us to bring this great company to Mississippi.”