LITCHFIELD – Custom Products of Litchfield Inc., a maker of cabs and operator protective structures used on off-highway vehicles for the industrial market, is investing more than $2 million and projecting to add 31 jobs in an expansion of its manufacturing plant.
The company said it plans to add 20,000 square feet at its Litchfield facility so that it can begin manufacturing cabs utilizing expanded processes for two new major customers. The company said the new jobs will pay an average of $17 an hour.
The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) is assisting with the expansion with $231,000 from the Minnesota Job Creation Fund. Custom Products will receive the funding once it has completed the expansion and added the jobs.
“Custom Products is known for making some of the industry’s highest-quality safety cabs for drivers of heavy equipment,” said DEED Commissioner Katie Clark Sieben. “This Minnesota company has a successful track record of more than 50 years, and we’re proud to play a part in this expansion.”
The Job Creation Fund, which was first proposed by Governor Mark Dayton to encourage job growth in Minnesota, will award $24 million in business incentives that were approved in the 2013 legislative session. Officials said the program is helping the state to compete for new jobs and businesses.
“The investment Minnesota is making in this expansion will produce a 9-to-1 return on our investment,” said Governor Dayton. “This project is a great success for Minnesota. I congratulate Custom Products on this important expansion.”
The company originally was a sheet metal job shop that was founded in 1959 in Litchfield by Arvid Reinke as Reinke Sheet Metal and Manufacturing. In 1962, the business expanded into making cabs for farm tractors under the Cozy Cab brand. Eventually, the company also began making protective enclosures for equipment in the construction, forestry, utilities, turf care, airport, recycling, military and recreational sectors.
The Minnesota Job Creation Fund is a new pay-for-performance program that provides up to $1 million to businesses after they meet certain criteria, including minimum requirements for job creation and private investments. Under the program, businesses must create at least 10 full-time jobs and invest at least $500,000 to be eligible for financial assistance.
The program is available to businesses engaged in manufacturing, warehousing, distribution, technology and other eligible activities. Companies must work with the local government (city, county or township) where a project is located to apply to DEED to receive designation as a Job Creation Fund business.
Since the Job Creation Fund was launched in January, DEED has awarded more than $11.5 million to 19 companies in Minnesota. Those companies have committed to creating nearly 1,300 new jobs and investing $217 million to expand.