Whirlpool expansion will add 400 jobs

GREENVILLE, Ohio (WDTN) — Development officials say the Whirlpool Corp. plans an expansion of a western Ohio plant that will add 400 jobs.

Gov. John Kasich and other state and local officials were in Greenville for what was called “an economic development” announcement Friday afternoon. The plant that makes KitchenAid brand mixers, blenders and other small kitchen appliances and attachments already employs some 1,000 full- and part-time workers.

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Whirlpool employees attend the announcement of a $40 million expansion at the company’s Greenville, Ohio production facility, March 14, 2014. (WDTN Photo/Robert Lowrey)

“It’s been a lot of work for a few years,” said Mike Bowers, Mayor of Greenville, Ohio. “Obviously, with today’s announcement it was well worth it.”

In a packed room, Whirpool Corporation employees and Ohio lawmakers announced 400 jobs would be coming to the Greenville facility over the next four years. Those jobs will be filled by paint technicians, supervisors, and engineers among others.

With the jobs, the company announced it is investing $40 million and will nearly double the size of its facility from 260,000 square feet to 460,000. The expansion is expected to be completed by early 2015.

The reason for expansion comes with the growing success of the KitchenAid small appliances, much like the stand mixer that’s been in production since 1919. The stand mixer’s production has nearly doubled at the Greenville facility in last five years. The company has also seen growth in Asia as the stand mixer expands to other countries.

“There’s a lot of heritage here,” said Ken Hossler, Plant Leader for the Whirlpool Corporation’s Greenville facility. “It’s been an iconic product for a long time. It has a rich history here.”

Attracting the expansion did come with incentives at both the state and local levels.

Governor John Kasich was in Greenville for the announcement Friday. He would not give specifics on the incentives but did say the money would be made back in one year with the expansion.

The city of Greenville and Darke County also sweetened the deal to help attract jobs and money to the area. Bowers said the city added $500,000 in a grant to go towards expansion.

“They were looking at other places across the United States,” said Bowers. “They were looking at other places globally. We knew we had to step up on the local level and add to the incentive package the state was putting out there.”

The incentives are still being finalized at both the state and local levels. Kasich credited Ohio workers and local leaders with helping to bring the Whirlpool Corporation’s expansion in Greenville.

“Everybody working together, you’re able to strike an agreement that’s good for the company and good for the state and good for the folks,” said Governor Kasich.

The Benton Harbor, Mich.-based company whose other brands include its namesake and Maytag is coming off a strong year. Sales rose 4 percent to $18.77 billion last year.

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