Japanese Plastics Manufacturer IRIS USA Opens In Surprise, Brings 70 Jobs
7 May 2016
After more than a year of anticipation, manufacturing company IRIS USA opened its nearly 450,000-square-foot western regional headquarters in Surprise and announced plans to make the Arizona facility its North American headquarters by the end of next year.
After a traditional ribbon-cutting ceremony May 3, Mayor Sharon Wolcott and IRIS USA leaders busted open a barrel of Hakutsuru Sake using wooden mallets — a Japanese building christening custom — sending a splash of the Japanese liquor into the air as the crowd chanted "IRIS, IRIS, IRIS."
IRIS USA, a subsidiary of Japanese company IRIS Ohyama, is best known for producing plastic storage containers, sometimes sold under brand names like the Container Store, and Ziploc. The company also produces other organizational supplies, pet products, lighting equipment and kitchenware.
The company has hired 40 employees and plans to add another 20 to 30 in the coming months, according to Jennifer Coker, director of human resources and legal affairs. Over the next two years, IRIS USA will relocate about 70 corporate employees to Surprise from its current headquarters in Pleasant Prairie, Wis.
IRIS USA Chairman Akihiro Ohyama said his company's decision to move to Surprise had a lot to do with location. The new facility is closer to Long Beach, Calif., the company's main port for Japanese imports, and closer to Japan, decreasing the time difference from its parent company.
Additionally, Ohyama said the company is growing and will need additional "talented people" to fill new jobs.
"In Arizona we have already found very great personnel," he said.
President Chet Keizer said IRIS USA hopes to double the Surprise facility in the next three to five years. IRIS USA owns approximately 45 acres adjacent to its new building.
Keizer said the city won over IRIS USA "at the words, 'Welcome to Surprise. What can we do to help you?' "
"We've built in other areas throughout the world and I don't think we've had a smoother operation than we've had here," Keizer said. "They just bent over backwards to accommodate us and help us get things done in a timely manner."
The city also enticed the company with incentives. The city will reimburse up to $500,000 in review, permit and impact fees, according to city spokeswoman Diane Arthur. Additionally, the city provided office space in its AZ TechCelerator during construction and hosted a job fair.
IRIS USA is the first company in the city's Foreign-Trade Zone, which reduces tariff and tax obligations for foreign companies. The trade zone was established in late 2010.
Wolcott said now that IRIS USA is open, the city will be able to market its success to other international prospects.
"I have no doubt that IRIS USA will serve as a magnet in bringing in more foreign direct investments, other businesses and more jobs to Surprise," she said.
Wolcott proclaimed May 3, 2016, IRIS USA Day in Surprise and presented Ohyama with a key to the city.
"You know what, I was going to put that key in a plastic container, but I couldn't find any anywhere," Wolcott joked.
"We will make you one," Ohyama said.
Source : azcentral.com