Today The Right Place, Inc., in collaboration with the Michigan Economic Development Corporation(MEDC) and the City of Grand Rapids, announced that Grand Rapids-based Performance Fabrics, Inc (dba HexArmor®) will be expanding to a new location at 640 Leffingwell Ave NE in Grand Rapids. This expansion will result in the creation of 50 new jobs and a capital investment of $8.7 million.

HexArmor was founded in Grand Rapids in 2002, and has grown significantly over the years with around 130 full-time employees. The company provides industrial personal protection equipment (IPPE), primarily offering cut and puncture resistant gloves and armguards, and recent product line expansions include safety eyewear. HexArmor has redefined the hand safety market with high performance products designed with proprietary technology that have eliminated millions of hand injuries worldwide.

HexArmor has outgrown its current facility at 2000 Oak Industrial Drive NE in Grand Rapids, necessitating the expansion to a new location. This growth has been driven by increased headcount, warehousing needs, and a strategic partnership with Germany-based uvex Safety Group, which has allowed HexArmor to immediately expand its portfolio of industry-leading IPPE and enter new markets.

The new location on Leffingwell Ave will provide HexArmor room to grow, and will also revitalize an obsolete building. The company plans to totally renovate the existing 52,000 s.f. building and to take occupancy of the rehabilitated facility in early 2019. The facility, when completed, will include office, warehousing, and light manufacturing space.

“HexArmor is strongly committed to growth in the City of Grand Rapids, and we feel this vibrant community is the best place for both our business and employees,” said Steve VanErmen, President and CEO of HexArmor. “We’re grateful for the support of The Right Place and their partners at the MEDC and City of Grand Rapids as we enter this next phase of growth.”

The Right Place worked in collaboration with the company and MEDC to ensure HexArmor continued to remain in Grand Rapids. The Right Place also connected HexArmor to workforce development resources at West Michigan Works! to assist with worker training.

The MEDC is supporting the expansion effort with the approval of a $350,000 Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant.

“West Michigan’s manufacturing community continues to grow, and HexArmor is part of that growth story,” said Thad Rieder, Senior Business Development Manager, The Right Place, Inc. and project lead on the HexArmor expansion. “We firmly believe that our region’s strong work ethic, culture and innovativeness is what retains and attracts blue chip companies like HexArmor in West Michigan.”

The City of Grand Rapids is supportive of HexArmor’s continued growth in the city, and has approved a P.A. 146 Obsolete Property Rehabilitation ACT in support of the company’s revitalization of the new facility.

Current obsolete structure at 640 Leffingwell Ave. NE, Grand Rapids
Current obsolete structure at 640 Leffingwell Ave. NE, Grand Rapids

“HexArmor’s decision to continue growing in Grand Rapids further solidifies the city’s reputation as a talent attraction magnet with a skilled workforce,” said Kara Wood, City of Grand Rapids Managing Director of Economic Development Services. “We look forward to supporting their expansion as they rehabilitate this underutilized property.”