KitchenAid mixer: How a wedding registry staple is creating new US jobs

KitchenAid mixers are in demand – enough demand that the famous mixers are headlining the expansion of a factory in Ohio, announces parent company Whirlpool Corp.

Marshall Gorby/Dayton Daily News/AP
Ohio Gov. John R. Kasich talks to Whirlpool Corp. employees and state and local officials in Greenville, Ohio, on Friday, March 14. The company announced it will invest $40 million to nearly double its small-appliance manufacturing operations.

The Whirlpool Corp., citing strong demand for its mixers and other small kitchen appliances made in Ohio, announced plans Friday to expand its Greenville plant and add 400 jobs.

The plant that makes KitchenAid brand mixers and other products already employs some 1,000 full- and part-time workers. The company said it's putting $40 million into an expansion that will nearly double the size of its operations, with 400 new jobs by 2018.

Whirlpool said it's seeing growing demand, especially in newer markets, for the KitchenAid appliances led by its stand mixers. The Greenville plant produces an average of 16,000 mixers, blenders, attachments and other units a day, the company said.

Ohio leaders were delighted that Whirlpool decided to expand in the state, instead of in China, Mexico or other potential locations.

"They had a lot of choices, and they picked us," said Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who went to Greenville for the announcement. "It's another significant win for Ohio."

Sen. Sherrod Brown (D) of Ohio called the planned expansion "a testament to the strength of Ohio's manufacturing sector and the quality of Ohio's workers," in a statement Friday. House Speaker John Boehner, also an Ohioan, praised Whirlpool's decision and expressed pride in the workforce that's part of his district.

Whirlpool is a major employer in the mostly rural area about an hour's drive from Dayton. Greenville's is one of five Whirlpool plants in Ohio.

"With several global options for this project, our decision to expand our Greenville facility is another way Whirlpool continues to demonstrate our commitment to American manufacturing," Whirlpool's chief executive, Jeff Fettig, said in a statement.

The Dayton Development Coalition has worked with JobsOhio, the private nonprofit job-creation operation that is a Kasich initiative, on incentives to attract and retain employers in the region including Whirlpool.

The Benton Harbor, Mich.-based company, whose other brands include its namesake and Maytag, is coming off a strong year. Sales rose 4 percent to $18.77 billion last year.

Whirlpool shares moved up 39 cents, to $142.08, Friday.

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