BROOKLYN, Ohio, March 7, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- American Greetings CEO Zev Weiss today announced that the Company will keep its corporate headquarters in northeast Ohio. Weiss made the announcement together with Ohio Gov. John R. Kasich, who signed legislation today providing important new tax incentives to help companies like American Greetings succeed in Ohio.
"The day after I was elected I came to American Greetings to personally let Zev and his leadership team know how committed I was to helping them stay in Ohio and continue a tradition that lasts more than 100 years. Working with the General Assembly we were able to make that happen," said Gov. Kasich.
"This is great news for both American Greetings, northeast Ohio and the state, and marks another step forward in Ohio's effort to create a jobs-friendly environment and overhaul how we work with companies to help them thrive and grow," he added.
To position itself for continued growth and adapt to changing industry needs, American Greetings last year began an exhaustive review of workplace needs and site options for its 2,000-employee corporate headquarters. That analysis includes both costs and the enhancement of the greeting card company's creative environment and culture. In November, the Company narrowed the sites it was considering to locations in northeast Ohio and greater Chicago.
The State of Ohio produced a combination of resources, primarily in the form of loans and tax credits, that could be used to assist in the development of a new or renovated Ohio headquarters for American Greetings.
Weiss praised the efforts Gov. Kasich and other state officials made to keep American Greetings in Ohio.
"Governor Kasich is keeping a commitment he made to us last year to look for ways to make American Greetings more competitive and encourage us to keep our headquarters and our jobs in Ohio," said Weiss. "The state convinced us that Ohio is indeed open for business and is aggressively working to retain and grow jobs."
Added Weiss: "We will, this year, begin to invest in the development of a world-class headquarters in greater Cleveland."
The State of Ohio's support will allow American Greetings to develop a dynamic headquarters stylishly wrapped around a creative environment and culture that will improve the Company's ability to continue to grow within the evolving greeting card industry.
American Greetings designs many of its cards and other products at its headquarters. The Company's need to either renovate or replace its headquarters is driven in part by both the need to provide a stimulating environment that spurs creative thinking and the ability to keep and attract high-skilled, creative talent.
To keep American Greetings in Ohio, the State committed $15 million in loans and $3.5 million in grants. The state legislature also approved of an adjustment to the existing Job Retention Tax Credit program, which has long provided tax credits to many Ohio companies.
The Company expects to spend tens of millions of dollars of its own funds on the project.
American Greetings will continue to review sites in northeast Ohio, including its current headquarters in Brooklyn.
American Greetings' 2,000-employee headquarters has an annual payroll of more than $150 million. The Company and its employees paid more than $14 million in local and state taxes last year.
SOURCE American Greetings Corporation