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Planning and Economic Development

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eMacomb - Economic Development in Action, Summer 2011

Fisher & Company expands capacity and jobs in St. Clair Shores

Macomb County Economic Development staff recently worked with a long-standing Macomb County business to help them realize a significant business expansion.  Fisher and Company, through its Fisher Dynamics subsidiary, is a manufacturer of seating systems headquartered in St. Clair Shores.

This family-owned business has been evolving to meet the needs of the transportation industry for more than 100 years.   The company is known for its innovative design capabilities, superior products and a reputation for reliable fulfillment and is a major anchor in the St. Clair Shores and Macomb county business communities.

Fisher had  an opportunity to gain a substantial piece of new business with one of the Detroit three for a new electric vehicle program as well as traditional vehicles.  The company estimated that for this work it would require an investment of nearly $9 million in new equipment and machinery and would create 88 new jobs.

As a global company, Fisher has facilities in Michigan as well as operations in Texas, Mexico, Germany, Poland, China, and India.  The decision the company had to make was whether to keep the work at its headquarters in Michigan or take it to a low cost country where substantial savings could be realized.

Enter Jim Ahee, Senior Economic Development Specialist with the Macomb County Department of Planning & Economic Development.  Mr. Ahee learned of the company’s dilemma and was determined to help keep the investment and new jobs in Macomb County.  The company was informed of the possible state and local incentives that could help reduce the cost of doing business in Michigan, thus leveling the playing field with lower cost states and countries.

The two main incentives Mr. Ahee wanted to help the company access were the Industrial Property Tax Abatement (P.A. 198) and the state’s MEGA credit program.

The first step in this process was to determine whether St. Clair Shores would adjust its policy on tax abatements in order to encourage the company to keep the jobs and investment here.  Historically, St. Clair Shores had never offered abatements to any of its companies. With the guidance of Mr. Ahee, the community leaders realized the benefit of adjusting its long standing policies and support tax abatements for qualified businesses. The City of St. Clair Shores agreed to support a 12 year tax abatement for the Fisher Project.

Next, the department reached out to the Michigan Economic Development Corporation to identify state incentives which would help Fisher further make the case for keeping the business in Michigan.  The MEGA Tax Credit was identified as the most appropriate incentive from the state, which in conjunction which the abatement from the local community, eliminated the cost advantage of moving this investment to Mexico. The MEGA incentive from the state was worth an estimated $778,358 tax credit against the Michigan Business Tax.

Finally, company officials realized that the increased work would also increase truck traffic on Harper Avenue, 14 Mile Road and the access road to the Fisher Company campus.  Once again, department staff reached out to colleagues with the Michigan Department of Transportation and Macomb County Road Department for assistance.  MDOT and the Macomb County Road Department had funding to resurface Harper Avenue between 13 and 15 Mile roads in 2011. With this funding they could rework the access road to the Fisher complex but would need additional land which the company owned.  Fisher donated the required land to the county to make the road construction possible.

Some 18 months later, Fisher has new equipment in the plant and 88 new employees working on this important contract.  “Working with the MCPED and Jim Ahee was a good experience for Fisher.  We appreciate all the work Jim and his team did,” said Alfred J. Fisher IV, Vice President.

Will your company be the next success story?  Department staff are here to help!  With a wide range of partner agencies, we can help you determine what you need and how to get it.  Please contact us planning@macombgov.org or by calling 586-469-5285 to learn more.

Fisher Dynamics – North America
33300 Fisher Drive
St. Clair Shores, MI 48082
586-746-2000

ADDITIONAL INFO/RELATED LINKS

Fisher & Company