Fox Cities Regional Partnership luring businesses to Fox Valley

KAUKAUNA – A $4 million business expansion is coming to Kaukauna.

And a local business development group is hoping others will soon flock to the Fox Cities as well.

An empty piece of industrial park land will soon become home to a 59,000 square foot building for PolyFlex. It’s a plastics manufacturing company based in southern Wisconsin that is expanding in Kaukauna thanks to the prodding of the Fox Cities Regional Partnership.

“This one represents the first time we have been able to work on somebody coming from outside the area into this region so we are very pleased about it,” said Larry Burkhardt with the Fox Cities Regional Partnership.

The fledgling agency was formed with the goal of bringing businesses to the area. And while this is the first, Burkhardt says the partnership has an ambitious goal.

“Our primary goal is to support the creation of 1,200 new jobs in the next five years.”

PolyFlex will bring with it 40 jobs for now but with plans to double in size in the next few years. And the company’s president Bill Lechner says the decision to come to the Fox Valley was an easy one.

“Good business climate, good people and it also fits into our wheelhouse with certain expansion plans as far as customers that we plan on attacking.”

Lechner says there were several reasons PolyFlex chose to expand in Kaukauna, but chief among them were the utility rates, rates Lechner says were far better than any other community the company looked at.

“Considerably better, I would say five to seven percent range and that is every month.”

And for a company that spends roughly $75,000 a month on power those savings add up fast. And it’s one of the reasons Kaukauna officials say their city is so attractive to businesses.

“As manufacturing jobs continue to increase in the state and the nation, Kaukauna will get a percentage of those jobs and not just Kaukauna, but the Fox Cities in general,” said Kaukauna Development Director Bob Jakel.

And some of them are already looking in this direction.

“We’ve got a couple of other manufacturers that are looking at consolidating activities here in the Fox Cities, very innovative products, can’t talk about their names yet, but between the two of them 150-200 new jobs overall,” said Burkhardt.

Providing a boost in what Burkhardt says is one of the fastest growing manufacturing regions in the country.

PolyFlex plans to break ground for it’s new Kaukauna facility next month.

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