Governor Rick Snyder of Michigan
"Hark's choice of Michigan for its first U.S. facility tells others across the globe that Michigan holds great opportunities for their business expansion," Snyder said. "This announcement comes as we wrap up a very busy, productive week with companies in Italy and Germany. Our message that Michigan is more business-friendly than ever is showing real results that will mean new jobs for people across our state."
Founded in 1904, Hark Orchids is a family-owned company offering hybridization, cultivation and propagation of orchids. Hark plans to establish a 30,000 square-foot lab and climatic chambers facility, investing approximately $5 million. The investment will create up to 80 jobs in the next three to five years. The Michigan Economic Development Corp. and Southwest Michigan First supported the project with cash grants totaling $750,000.
"Investments in Michigan's agriculture industry, like Hark's investment in Kalamazoo, help our economic recovery by creating new agriculture jobs and supporting our local communities," said Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development Director Keith Creagh. "Michigan currently ranks third in the nation in floriculture production and is known for our high quality floriculture products both in the U.S. and internationally."
Earlier in the day Snyder met with executives from BASF at its headquarters in Ludwigshafen to thank the company for its strong commitment to Michigan and make the case for additional investment and jobs in the future.
New Jersey-based BASF Corp. was formed in 1986 and is the North American affiliate of Germany-based BASF AG, one of the world's leading chemical companies. Michigan BASF operates eight facilities and employs some 1,400 associates at facilities in Wyandotte, Livonia, Southfield, Mattawan, Lincoln Park, Wixom, Rochester Hills and Troy.
Today's announcement by Hark was one of the more public highlights of Snyder's eight-day investment mission in Italy and Germany, where he and a Michigan delegation have met with Italian and Germany government officials and major company executives to promote business opportunities in Michigan. The group will return home on Saturday.
"Southwest Michigan welcomes Hark to a new stage in the region's rich history as the Bedding Plant Capital of the World. While the industry relied on the region's microclimates and rich soil centuries ago, today its collaborative infrastructure and bioscientific knowledge are helping it to blossom as shown by the company's decision to locate here," said Ron Kitchens, CEO of Southwest Michigan First.
The mission is Snyder's second since taking office in 2011. Last September he led an eight-day trade mission in Asia, where he and a Michigan delegation met with Japanese, Chinese and Korean government officials and major company executives to promote business opportunities in Michigan.
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PHOTO ADVISORY: Gov. Rick Snyder, second from right, meets with officials of Hark Orchids L.P. From the left are Anja Hark-Bormann, Oliver Bormann, Ingrid Hark, Fritz Hark, Snyder and Karl-Heinz Lapornkik.