Kohler Co., a global leader in kitchen and bath products, is constructing a greenfield plumbing ware manufacturing facility, ancillary warehouse, and office space on 216 acres in Casa Grande. The multi-million capital investment comprises a total of approximately 1 million square feet, with room onsite for future expansion, and will bring more than 400 new full-time jobs to the local market. (Rendering provided by Ware Malcomb)
How Pinal County became a magnet for manufacturing development
With leaps being made in new and existing manufacturing developments, Pinal County is looking at a bright economic future.
Most recently in November 2022, Procter and Gamble (P&G) announced their plans to build a new manufacturing facility in Coolidge, Arizona. The company has been working with brands on their production for nearly 200 years.
Brands under their umbrella include but are not limited to Pampers, Tide, Bounty, Tampax, Cascade and Vics.
The new facility in Arizona is currently set to assist in the manufacturing of P&G’s Fabric Care brands which include Tide, Bounce, Downey and Gain just to name a few.
Current plans have the facility set to create 500 new jobs and be operating by 2025.
“Pinal County is a prime location for serving our consumers and customers across the region,” says Martin Hettich, P&G senior vice president of fabric care, North America. “The Coolidge facility will be key to supporting P&G’s Fabric Care business, and we look forward to our partnership with the community for years to come.”
In a press release, then-Gov. Doug Ducey says, “Arizona is proud to welcome this new manufacturing facility from such an iconic American company as P&G.”
Other companies currently manufacturing — or planning to do so — in Pinal County are Owens Corning, National Gypsum and Kohler Co.
Pinal County manufacturing
In early 2022, Owens Corning found their way back to Eloy when they reopened a manufacturing facility that had been closed for over a decade.
The 42,500-square-foot facility produces fiberglass insulation and created more than 50 new jobs upon its reopening.
“Eloy, like all of its neighboring communities, has been benefitting from the incredible growth in population and jobs in central Pinal County,” says Jeff Fairman, economic development manager for Eloy. “Our new corporate partners Gold Bond Building Products [National Gypsum], Owens Corning and Vext Science are paving the way for renewed interest in industrial growth here in Eloy and Pinal County.”
He explains that this is the first time in a while that “national companies with strong portfolios in distribution and light industrial development have committed to land in Eloy.”
Many of these companies are currently in the design and approval process for the more than one million square feet of space they intend to lease or purchase.
Fairman says that the jobs these developments create also mean more housing is on its way.
“Eloy is working with residential developers who bring experience in all types of development,” he says, “including multi and single-family housing with space set aside for retail development to support the need for top-notch consumer amenities.”
Looking ahead, Fairman adds, “The Eloy team remains busy working with additional potential locates to support our industrial and those of our neighbors in Casa Grande and Coolidge.”
Kohler Co. announced the construction of its nearly 1 million square-foot facility in Casa Grande in 2022. The facility was set to be finished in August 2023.
Once functional, it will contain a manufacturing facility, ancillary warehouse and office space, and it will create more than 400 jobs. The manufacturing facility will use
“smart factory elements and cutting-edge production technology” to produce STERLING Vikrell bath and shower fixtures.
Craig McFarland, mayor of Casa Grande, states he is excited for Kohler to join the city. “Kohler not only leads in its industry, but is equally responsible to the neighbors and community where it resides. The company is recognized for reducing their environmental impact in its operations, demonstrating socially responsible practices, and creating products that define the sustainability landscape of the future.”
Building a future of growth
With all of these developments either running or underway, Economic and Workforce Development Director of Pinal County James Smith says the area has seen growth in its overall population, labor force and overall employment.
According to data from the last five years — 2017 to the most recent data in 2022 —the population grew by 13.2%.
In addition, he says from April 2018 to April 2023, the labor force grew from 173,000 to about 203,000 and overall employment has seen growth of about 19%.
“The community seems to be very supportive of the jobs that are being created in Pinal County, and the economic opportunity that they provide,” Smith says.
In the future, Smith believes Pinal County will continue to see growth in manufacturing. This is “largely because of Arizona’s continued population growth which will drive further demand for these products,” he says. “Also, Pinal County’s strategic location between Phoenix and Tucson as well as at the crossroads of roadways and rail that connect to some of the world’s largest economies and supply chains, including California, Texas and Mexico.”
For now, Owens Corning is the only project that is operational, and others will open or begin construction later this year creating even more capital expenditures and jobs for Pinal County.
“Taken together,” Smith says, “they represent further diversification of our economy and will provide the products to further drive strong development in Arizona and beyond.”