Missouri’s new governor, former Navy Seal Eric Greitens, wasted no time in getting down to work on his economic development goals once he was sworn in January of this year. Right-to-work legislation quickly arrived on his desk for signing, followed by tort reform, and a balanced budget. Teams were formed to evaluate taxes, incentives, the size of government and regulations. An initiative to put broadband access in every school in the state was launched, and a special session took place to ensure Missouri energy prices can be competitive when businesses are considering investing in the state.
Since January 1 of this year, Missouri has seen big announcements in agtech, advanced manufacturing, distribution and logistics, professional services, and food solutions.
In January, CliqStudios, the nation’s largest online retailer of semi-custom kitchen cabinets, announced they were setting up a design studio in Missouri with an expected 100 new jobs. Eleven days later, AgIdea, an Argentian agtech company chose Missouri for its North American headquarters. And Denmark’s Brodrene Hartmann kicked off production of their advanced and innovative egg cartons in Missouri.
February saw no slow down. On February 1, Trans-Lux announced the creation of 90 jobs in Missouri as they reshored production of their advanced scoreboards from China. Two days later, Nestle announced plans for 300 new jobs in the state as they moved 300 highly-skilled, technical support jobs to the region. On February 9, Code Koalas announced 88 new jobs in Kansas City, Missouri in a variety of high skill roles. And on February 10, AutoAlert moved their headquarters from California to Missouri, announcing the creation of hundreds of new jobs.
March saw the completion of a highly-competitive process that had American Outdoor Brands looking at 85 sites in 10 states. Columbia, Missouri, won the decision and the $55 million investment, 500,000 square foot national distribution center and 300 new jobs. And British-owned AB Mauri announced continued growth in the Cortex Innovation Community in St. Louis.
April started with Aurora Organic Dairy announcing a $100 million investment to build a new facility and create 90-150 new jobs in Columbia, Missouri. “The decision to build our second milk plant in Columbia culminates several years of research and diligence to determine the optimal location for a new processing operation,” said Marc Peperzak, Founder and CEO of Aurora Organic Dairy. “Columbia was the best choice because it offers a location that expands and improves the efficiency of our total supply chain, from organic feed, to milk, to consumer. Central Missouri also offers a great workforce and attractive access to major interstate highways.
The Aurora announcement was quickly followed by an announcement from Dollar Tree that Warrensburg, Missouri, would be the site of a brand new 1.2 million square foot distribution facility. The $110 million investment is creating 375 new jobs and will see 150-200 inbound/outbound trucks per day.
Also in April, Altec Industries, a provider of products to the electric utility, telecommunications, tree care, lights and signs, and contractor markets announced 105 new jobs. SugarCreek, an innovative and diversified food manufacturing company, announced 70 new jobs, Virbac Corporation selected Kansas City for its 150,000 square foot national distribution center, and Ajinomoto Windsor expanded in Joplin, Missouri, creating more than 200 new jobs at its planned frozen appetizer plant.
Cushman and Wakefield, a global leader in commercial real estate cut the ribbon on their new 90,000 square foot office building in May. The $17.4 million expansion is expected to add 600 new jobs. Alpha General Contracting chose Kansas City for its world headquarters, creating 50 new jobs, Kraft Heinz cut the ribbon on their $250 million expansion in Kirksville, Missouri, adding 200 new jobs, and 3M embarked on their $40 million expansion in Springfield, Missouri, with plans to create 90 new jobs.
Also in May, Blue Buffalo expanded their footprint in Joplin by 112,000 square feet, creating almost 50 new jobs, and DST announced the creation of 400 new jobs in Kansas City. And the previously announced Aurora Organic Dairy broke ground on their new facility.
And finally, in June, Governor Greitens appoint Rob Dixon as the new director of the Missouri Department of Economic Development, the announcement of Austrian’s BLITAB moving into Kansas City, $900,000 in capital investment by NovaCopy in Malden, Missouri, and the selection of Sedalia, Missouri, as the site of the U.S logistics center for European ammunition company Nammo AS’ newly formed Capstone Precision Group.
“Nammo is excited about the creation of the Capstone Precision Group logistic center in Missouri,” Raimo Helasmäki, Nammo’s EVP of Commercial Ammunition, said. “This move to Missouri is a well thought through strategy where all the benefits for all counterparts are optimized. The local authorities have been very easy to work with to help develop this project. We look forward to years of growth through this facility.”
It’s enough to make you want to raise a pint of beer and toast the great state of Missouri. Which is good, because Missouri’s beer industry contributes more than $12.4 billion annually to the state’s economy.
As Steve Olenski wrote in Forbes about Missouri’s agtech industry, a key reason for Missouri’s success is the statewide partnerships that extend to every company the state is working to attract to Missouri. “[Missouri] has successfully formed lasting agtech partnerships because of its strategy to deliver a long list of capabilities: talent, technology, scientific leadership, resources, and assets,” Olenski wrote. “Its market position has to illustrate Missouri’s thought and innovation leadership when it comes to the latest in advanced farming practices. [Missouri] has learned that highlighting what these partners are seeking most — a strong agtech infrastructure, access to capital, crop and livestock diversity, abundant water supply, and rich soil — are the key attributes to highlight.”
We’re not even halfway through the year, and Missouri has already seen significant change and significant growth. It’s an exciting time to be in Missouri. And it’s an exciting time to tell the world Missouri’s story.