Greeting card giant American Greetings is headquartered in Brooklyn, Ohio, a suburb of Cleveland. AG is a major Northeast Ohio employer and the city’s largest, with over 2000 employees.
Over a year ago, they announced that they were considering moving their headquarters out of Brooklyn, perhaps even out of Ohio.
What did Ted Strickland do? He brought “jobs czar” Lee Fisher and some brownies and begged them to stay. But throughout the remainder of 2010, he did nothing specific to address their concerns over the increasing tax burdens they and their employees were subject to. AG received a proposal to relocate to Illinois. Where was Ohio’s response? No wonder Strickland’s leadership was described as “timid”.
Luckily, John Kasich was elected on November 2nd, and two days later, obviously not even in office yet, he made keeping AG in Ohio a priority and visited their headquarters in Brooklyn.
“We briefed him on our ongoing review of the company’s world headquarters location,” said American Greetings spokeswoman Patrice Sadd. “We had a good discussion and we look forward to working with him and his administration.”
Kasich came away from that meeting and worked with the state legislature to craft an offer that would convince American Greetings to stay in Ohio.
This morning, it paid off. AG had been considering 2 sites in suburban Chicago, but those have now been crossed off the list, and the company has committed to remaining in NE Ohio. Governor Kasich signed the legislation at the Brooklyn headquarters this morning.
|Photo courtesy WEWS|
“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,” Kasich said in a written statement released before the news conference.
Here’s the money quote:
“Gov. 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, who has been chief executive officer since 2003.
“The state convinced us that Ohio is indeed open for business and is aggressively working to retain and grow jobs.”
Ohio is open for business again.