By Janelle Higgins, Missouri Partnership
Missouri is an ideal location for businesses, and the state is welcoming unprecedented new investments from global powerhouses – with no signs of slowing down.
The state continues to make headlines as internationally renowned companies build new facilities in communities across the state, from Sikeston to Kansas City.
Both cities made recently made headlines, with two major announcements happening just days apart. In June 2023, Ace Hardware Corporation announced plans to open a 1.5 million-square-foot Retail Support Center in Kansas City that’s expected to create 350 new jobs. One week later, state and local leaders celebrated the official opening of Carlisle Construction Materials’ newest production and manufacturing facility in Sikeston, which will bring 100 jobs to the community.
“We at Carlisle are grateful for the warm welcome we have received from the State of Missouri and the people of Sikeston,” said Steve Schwar, President of Carlisle Construction Materials. “This brand-new plant, which will create 100 jobs in the Sikeston region, is Carlisle’s second location in Missouri. Carlisle is committed to success and growth here in Sikeston, which is an ideal location to serve our strategic and growing markets.”
Both companies cited Missouri’s highly-skilled workforce as a motivator for investing in the state. And they’re not alone.
Industry leaders from a variety of sectors, including agriculture, food processing, advanced manufacturing and technology know they can find success when they expand into any of the state’s communities.
That’s why Missouri landed $2.3 billion in out-of-state investments in the span of 12 months, including an $800 million investment from American Foods Group (AFG).
Home to the 2nd most farms in the entire country, Missouri has a proud history of being one of the top states for agriculture. Combined with nationally-ranked research universities and an innovative, growing tech industry, the state is a prime location for agricultural and food processing companies like AFG. Thanks to Missouri’s strength in the industry and a skilled agricultural workforce, the family-owned company announced Warren County would be the site of its new state-of-the-art beef processing facility, a project expected to generate $1 billion in annual economic impact for the state of Missouri.
“When AFG first approached our team about this project via the Harvest Group, we knew it would be extremely competitive. However, we were confident Missouri’s history in food processing, strengths in agriculture, and our central location would help us win AFG for our state,” said Subash Alias, CEO of Missouri Partnership. “AFG is a leading beef processing company with an impeccable reputation. I’m looking forward to watching them grow here in Missouri.”
As a strong talent pipeline becomes an increasingly important factor in site selection, Missouri continues to shine, thanks to the state’s proactive investments in its workforce. Missouri One Start, the state’s primary workforce development program, provides custom-built training programs and workforce solutions at no cost to eligible businesses. Missouri ranks 2nd in the nation for on-the-job training by the United States Department of Labor, 3rd in the number of new apprenticeships and 4th in completed apprenticeships, with 94 percent of workers retaining employment after completing an apprenticeship program.
The state’s investments in its workforce have paid off in dividends, as it continues to attract top-tier companies like global fiber cement siding manufacturer James Hardie. In October 2022, the company announced plans to build its newest manufacturing facility in Crystal City. The region’s strong workforce and training programs were cited as key factors in bringing the 100-year-old leading manufacturer to the state.
“We are proud to welcome a leading manufacturer like James Hardie to Missouri,” said Governor Mike Parson. “As companies see increased product demand and begin to evaluate expansion locations, we are working hard to show them why Missouri should be at the top of their shortlist. We have some of the lowest taxes in the country, an unwavering commitment to workforce development, and world-class companies already operating here. We appreciate James Hardie choosing Missouri and know they will find a home, hospitality, and success.”
Along with a highly-skilled workforce, Missouri also offers a business-friendly climate that growing businesses like URBN can greatly benefit from, offering the 3rd lowest corporate tax index rate, 6th best taxpayer return on investment and 7th best property tax index. In fact, CNBC ranked Missouri as the 2nd state in the nation for low business costs. Additionally, the state is highly affordable for residents, with the 7th lowest cost of living in the country.
As the statistical population center of the U.S., Missouri’s location gives businesses access to both coasts in less than a two-day drive. In addition to low costs and a great quality of life, the state’s central location central provides ample opportunities for growing businesses like URBN.
In January 2023, the leading global retailer announced plans to open a 604,000-square-foot fulfillment center in Raymore, Missouri. URBN, whose portfolio includes Urban Outfitters, Anthropologie, and Free People, will use the facility for its rapidly growing clothing brand, Nuuly. Company leaders knew they could count on Missouri to have the talent needed to fill every one of the facility’s 750 roles they’re expected to create within five years.
“Nuuly has experienced significant growth since our launch in 2019,” said Dave Hayne, Chief Technology Officer of URBN and President of Nuuly. “We are excited to open our second U.S. fulfillment center to support our next phase of growth, and proud to work with the State of Missouri and the City of Raymore to bring new jobs to the Kansas City region.”
Missouri is committed to ensuring growing companies like URBN continue finding success in the state. As industries adapt to new technologies and new ways of working, global industry leaders have found that Missouri is one of the top states to take their business into a more innovative, more sustainable future.
From a low cost of doing business to an unmatched commitment to workforce development, Missouri offers the resources, talent and training that businesses need to expand and thrive.