Missouri has taken on the challenge of becoming the “Best in the Midwest,” an initiative that focuses extensively on helping businesses grow and create jobs and helping workers access training and acquire skills to find employment. Additionally, Missouri has established the Missouri Hyperloop Coalition, who recently began an official feasibility study for a proposed Virgin Hyperloop One route between St. Louis and Kansas City. The proposed route would combine the two cities into one “mega-region” cutting the travel time down to a mere 23 minutes. It is this kind of big thinking that is setting Missouri apart from its neighboring states and is making Missouri a one-of-a-kind place to do business.
Since January 1, 2018, Missouri has seen major announcements in agtech, advanced manufacturing, distribution and logistics, as well as financial and professional services.
In January, Fairfield Processing Corp., a third generation, family-owned and operated American business dedicated to providing high-quality and innovative fiber-processed products to the DIY, home decor and industrial trades, announced its plans to add more than 100 jobs to its North St. Louis facility. St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson welcomed the company to the city, and toured its 300,000-square-foot facility, which produces stuffed toys, pillows, pet beds, fabrics and other items, in addition to serving as a distribution center.
February started with NICE Rail Products, a veteran-owned and operated manufacturer of composite railroad ties, announcing plans to commence production in St. Louis with plans to create 82 new jobs. A week later, on the other side of the state, Faurecia, a leading automotive technology company developing solutions for sustainable mobility and smart life on board, announced plans to open a new Interiors production facility in Blue Springs, Missouri. The new facility will create more than 300 new jobs and officially begin production activity later this year, ramping up to full production by the end of 2020.
“Faurecia is proud to open this new site and to provide new opportunities for local jobseekers,” said Donald Hampton, Jr., president of Faurecia Interiors in North America. “Kansas City Metro and the Blue Springs area are known for being a source of excellence in American manufacturing and we’re looking forward to building on that expertise and skill set as we continue to provide the very best to our customers.”
March saw the announcement of Amazon’s first fulfillment center to be located in Missouri, creating more than 1,500 full-time jobs in St. Peters. Amazon employees at the more than 800,000-square-foot fulfillment center will pick, pack and ship small items to customers such as books, electronics and toys. The facility will feature innovative technology such as Amazon Robotics that will assist employees in fulfilling customer orders. Amazon wasn’t the only win for St. Peters in March, as Grove Collaborative, a high-growth natural home focused platform delivering products directly to consumers, announced plans to open a new fulfillment center in the same business park as Amazon. The new 137,000-square-foot facility is expected to create 210 new jobs for the region.
Photo Caption: Square’s St. Louis location is expanding with an additional 300+ new jobs
“We’re excited to continue growing our team with our first, state-of-the-art fulfillment center in Missouri,” said Sanjay Shah, Amazon’s Vice President of North America Customer Fulfillment. “Our ability to expand in Missouri is the result of two things: incredible customers and an outstanding workforce. Amazon is committed to providing great opportunities for employment and creating a positive economic impact for the region.”
In April, Missouri-based Save-A-Lot announced it had decided to stay and continue to grow in Missouri, and will begin work on its new corporate headquarters in the City of St. Ann. Save-A-Lot conducted a national search to find the right location for its corporate headquarters, which currently employs 450 people. The new 165,000-square-foot space at the Crossings at Northwest will house its current operations plus an additional 64 employees the company plans to hire over the next three years.
May saw an uptick of international investment in Missouri, starting with BH North America Corporation, a Spanish-owned premium fitness equipment, bicycle and garage cabinetry company, announcing it is relocating its U.S. headquarters from California to St. Charles, Missouri, bringing 50 new jobs to the region. A day later, leaders of Centro de Tecnologia Canavieira, or CTC, the world’s largest sugarcane technology company, headquartered in Piracicaba, São Paulo, Brazil announced that following a nationwide search, the company had selected St. Louis, Missouri, for its North American research headquarters. And a day after that, Hexa Ingenieros, a Spanish engineering services company focused on designing and implementing automation process control and industrial computing services, announced it is entering the U.S. marketplace and establishing its U.S. headquarters in Missouri.
“Missouri is perfectly positioned at the intersection of the east-west and north-south shipping corridors,” said Dan Foust, president and CEO of BH North America. “We can ship products anywhere in the U.S. in a couple of days and eliminate a lot of waste in rent and taxes. This strategic location and cost savings will allow us to innovate, invest in our people and increase our competitiveness in the marketplace.”
But it wasn’t just foreign companies that expanded in Missouri in May, Square Inc., a leading financial services company located in the Cortex Innovation Community in St. Louis, Missouri, announced it is doubling its footprint and creating an additional 300+ new jobs. The company first established their presence in St. Louis in Cortex’s @4240 Building in September 2015 with 200+ new jobs to support their growing mobile payments company.
“Square is proud to be from St. Louis and thrilled to expand our presence here, where we’ve exceeded our growth expectations thanks to the wealth of local talent,” said Jim McKelvey, co-founder and director of Square. “St. Louis is home to tens of thousands of Square sellers and we’re thankful for the support of our city and state partners in furthering their growth. We’re excited for what’s ahead.”
Another major announcement came in June as Bayer Ag and St. Louis, Missouri-based Monsanto Co. announced they had completed their $66 billion definitive joint merger, and plan to establish their new global Seeds & Traits and North American commercial headquarters in St. Louis, Missouri. The merger was originally announced in 2016, and solidifies Missouri’s claim as the global leader in agtech.
“Today’s closing represents an important milestone toward the vision of creating a leading agricultural company, supporting growers in their efforts to be more productive and sustainable for the benefit of our planet and consumers,” said Hugh Grant, outgoing chairman and CEO of Monsanto.
It’s not even halfway through the year, and Missouri has already seen tremendous growth. The big thinking of Missouri’s state and local leaders is truly making it and exciting time to be in Missouri.