Designer Knives Pay Dividends to Clackamas Manufacturer
Benchmade Knife now employs 180 workers and exports its designed manufactured knives to customers in 40 countries.
An Oregon furniture manufacturer will add more than 100 new jobs at a new facility in Stayton thanks to a contract with IKEA.
IKEA previously contracted for the manufacture of fabric-covered furniture from overseas factories in Asia, but now that work will be "in-sourced" to Oregon. Business Oregon partnered with the company on the construction of the new Stayton manufacturing facility and the training of its new workers with a $125,000 forgivable loan from the Governor's Strategic Reserve Fund in February 2012.
"This is a perfect example of an Oregon company catching the new wave of 'insourcing' and providing opportunities for Oregonians to work jobs formerly held overseas," Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber said. "We are very excited to welcome Mastercraft and its newly expanded operations to the rural community of Stayton."
Governor Kitzhaber had traveled to the White House in January 2012 where he participated in an Insourcing American Jobs forum with President Obama.
Mastercraft Furniture, Inc., is a privately held, wholesale manufacturer of fabric-covered furniture, such as couches and chairs. The company was founded in 1984 and, until mid-2011, had 40 employees. In September 2010, Mastercraft Furniture entered into a contract with IKEA to produce IKEA's proprietary line of fabric-covered furniture.
Mastercraft shipped the first couches under the IKEA contract in March of 2011. Since that time, the company has expanded to more than 150 employees and has completely outgrown its Wilsonville facility. Throughout this rapid growth process, IKEA has invested heavily in Mastercraft in areas such as engineering, staff training and green manufacturing compliance.
Due to its rapid growth, the company required a new, larger manufacturing facility. With the assistance of Business Oregon and the Strategic Economic Development Corporation (SEDCOR), company officials found a 200,000-square-foot vacant building in the Stayton Industrial Park in Stayton. The new facility is expected to open and begin operation by the end of April, company officials said.
"This is great news for rural Oregon and Marion County," said Tim McCabe, director of Business Oregon. "It is more evidence that with minimal assistance, we can effectively help existing Oregon companies create and retain good jobs here in the state."
Mastercraft Furniture, Inc., worked with the Workforce Integration Network, a partnership between Job Growers Incorporated, SEDCOR and Chemeketa Community College to address the workforce recruitment and training needs.
In early 2013, Mastercraft, had 180 full-time employees. CEO Marty Olsen told a state legislative committee that the company had grown 800% in the last two years and has aggressive growth plans for the next eight years.
"I could not do what I have done without the help of Business Oregon," Olsen said. "My competition is not local, it comes globally. It comes from China. It comes from Europe. My competitors get a lot of help from their governments. I feel sometimes at a disadvantage. I am thankful for people like Business Oregon who come alongside me and help me."
Oregon is a unique balance of geographic beauty and modern technological development and is well known for an accepting, active culture with a vibrant arts community.