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 user 2009-08-24 at 4:09:59 pm Views: 74
  • #22581
    Mid-Michigan cartridge business booming
    (clover tech corp )

    Company started in basement is now employing 250
    – AUGUST 2009–A Mid-Michigan business that started in a basement is
    now booming.Cartridges Are Us was created in 2003 and employed just a
    few people.Today its workforce tops 250, and it is the largest employer
    in Ithaca. At a celebration Tuesday, the focus was on teamwork.While
    the owners of the company had the vision, local leaders say it took the
    whole community to pull this one off.At a ribbon-cutting ceremony
    Tuesday morning, employees — alongside state and local officials –
    celebrated success and a promise fulfilled.”Steve told me, he said,
    ‘You know what? I can guarantee you one thing,’” said Jim Cerkleski.

    guarantee was that Ithaca-based Cartridges Are Us could recycle and
    resell ink jet cartridges cheaper and more efficiently than workers in
    Mexico.”And I’ll tell you what today, he made it happen,” Cerkleski
    said. “It’s unbelievable.”

    Greater Gratiot Development President
    Don Schurr says everything just fell into place, from landing the right
    tax incentives to finding the right building.”Everything happened just
    click, click, click,” Schurr said.Now many of the 255 Cartridges Are Us
    employees work in a former shoe factory. It’s a big change from the
    humble beginnings of Angie and Steve Iocco.”We started in the basement
    of our home and a grew exponentially in a very fast period of time,”
    Angie Iocco said.That growth has meant refilling about 200,000 ink
    cartridges per month last year to an expected million cartridges per
    month this year.All that growth has meant hiring 175 people since
    December.Many of those employees were unemployed or underemployed
    before landing a job with the cartridge company.
    Cartridges Are Us expands
    Steve and Angie Iocca, founders of Cartridges Are Us, told Greater
    Gratiot Development President Don Schurr that they needed another
    building and needed it now, Schurr was there in a few hours to show
    them the old Wolverine manufacturing facility on Union Street in
    Ithaca.Angie Iocca told the large crowd of local and state officials
    and employees the story at the company’s open house and ribbon cutting
    Tuesday of it’s “new” Union Street manufacturing facility.”The building
    had to be gutted,” Schurr said later.
    The 45,000 square foot
    building, had in fact, been scheduled to be demolished.Contaminant
    clean up was also expected to be completed, but the Wolverine owners
    had removed the contaminants and no industrial clean up was necessary
    for the brownfield redevelopment, he said.Cartridges Are Us is part of
    the Clover Technologies Group and CEO Jim Cerkleski flew in from
    Illinois to cut the ribbon.He told the group that he recalled when
    Iocca told him the move to Mexico was “not working out. “This was after
    the company had transferred its operations south of the border.Iocca
    promised him, he said, that if Cartridges are Us could be moved back
    entirely to Michigan, efficiency and quality would be just as good, if
    not better.

    It was better.
    “What they’ve accomplished is just
    unbelievable,” he said.The new building on Union Street is its
    manufacturing facility. The company’s other plant in Ithaca’s South
    Industrial Park serves as its packaging facility, Steve Iocca said.
    About 70 people are employed on Union Street and about 170 are working
    in the park.

    His goal, he said, is “continued growth.
    green these days,” he said. “We are recycling. (Clover Technologies) is
    the world’s largest recycler of cell phones and electronics.Ithaca’s
    new city manager Chelsey Foster, who had worked with CAU when he was
    employed with Greater Gratiot Development, also spoke to the
    group.”It’s been a joy,” he said. “We are extremely fortunate to have
    such a vibrant, dynamic company in the county”

    He also stressed the team work involved in attracting CAU to settle in Ithaca.
    he said, “The Ioccas are an inspiration for all of us that there’s hope
    for this area and in the state.”Ithaca Mayor George Bailey recalled how
    his father hand helped build the plant in 1950 and how he too had
    worked there as a young man.Jennifer Owens, vice president of the
    Michigan Economic Development Corp said she “loved the teams.”This is a
    signature development for Michigan,” said said, citing the local
    community’s efforts and its brownfield development. “It sets the bar

    U.S. Rep. Paul Opsommer, R-DeWitt, told the people
    assembled that for the last 30 years Gratiot County has lost jobs. It
    knows what that’s like.”Today is a day for celebrating,” he said.
    “Enjoy the feeling. It took teamwork to do it.”Throughout the event,
    plaques were given to CAU’s employees and officials and other plaques
    were presented from CAU to members of the organizations that
    helped.Cartridges Are Us takes used ink jet printer cartridges and
    makes them new again.