Auto Parts, Furniture Makers Lead the Region's Diverse and Growing Economy

On Thursday, April 28, 2011 - 10:13
The Holland-Grand Haven economy is about far more than tulips and tourism. Sure, those related sectors are good moneymakers and support a vibrant service and hospitality foundation. But a healthy garden is a diverse garden, and the same holds true with local economies. The region has a varied industrial and manufacturing base. It is attracting start-up companies, but much of the growth is in established businesses that like where they are and want to expand. Northwest Ottawa County, which includes Grand Haven, has more than 250 industrial companies, top among them metal fabrication, plastic injection molding and extrusion, and a host of custom shops. Many of them serve the office furniture, auto and appliance industries. The region’s major employers include Haworth Inc., a major U.S. manufacturer of office furniture; retailer Meijer Inc.; Alcoa Automotive Casings; furniture-maker Herman Miller; and Magna Donnelly, which makes door handles, windows and mirrors for cars; and. Also in the automotive trade, Johnson Controls Inc. makes auto interior components, Gentex Corporation manufactures automatic-dimming car mirrors and fire protection devices, and Holland Hitch Company assembles truck hitches and braking systems for clients across the globe. The food industry is big business, too. Pickles are produced in Heinz North America’s plant in Holland. The Holland area also has Mead Johnson Nutritionals, Pfizer, Perrigo Company and Boar’s Head Provisions Co. Inc. Both Holland and Grand Haven are less than an hour commute from the east side of Grand Rapids, and businesses are attracting employees from as far away has the Hart/Shelby area and the east side of Grand Rapids. Northwest Ottawa County is also located within a three-county foreign trade zone. Grand Haven is a hub for technology, too, with a variety of high-tech companies located in the region. The city also garnered national attention in 2004 when it completed the country’s first citywide WiFi broadband network. Getting back to the basics, Holland does indeed have a tulip farm and a wooden shoe factory. At DeKlomp Wooden Shoe & Delft Factory you can chat with artisans as they mold, hand-paint, and glaze the only authentic blue and white delftware made in the U.S, or watch wooden shoe carving on machines imported from the Netherlands. And if your dream is to grow tulips, take root at Veldeer Tulip Gardens.