Commercial/Business

Sturgishas a long history of business success and remains committed to being a great place to do business, as well as a place to live, work, and play. This focus on a thriving economy and business friendly environment makes it a great place to start a business, grow a business, or find a job.

Sturgis continues to see existing businesses grow, new businesses come into the community, and entrepreneurs establish their business here. It’s a historical trend for Sturgis, being home to international industry since the 1800s — Sturgis maintains its status as a place to do business. The City boasts a very healthy economy with a number of significant businesses in a diverse number of industries. From divisions of several international, multimillion-dollar corporations to midsize and small manufacturing concerns, Sturgis has a strong industrial base. The products manufactured in Sturgis include food processing, tool and die, commercial vehicle assembly, printing, auto parts, plastic and paper products, and much more.

Major industrial employers in Sturgis include Burr Oak Tool Inc., a locally-owned family company operating internationally in the field of tools, dies and specialized machinery. Other major industrial employers include Morgan Olson, a manufacturer of commercial trucks and Abbott Nutrition, a major name in pediatric and medical/nutritional products.

Other significant industrial businesses include Sturgis Molded Products, the Syntech Division of Summit Polymers, VCI Inc., Americraft Carton Inc.,International Paper, LTI Printing Co., Midwest Tool and Cutlery Inc., Precision Speed Equipment Inc., Penguin LLC, ACM Plastics, Colbalt Holdings, Oak Press Solutions, Parma Tube and many more.

Sturgis also features a host of other, nonindustrial employers, many providing a significant employment base for the community. These include GT Independence, a service company for elderly and those with disabilities and Thurston Woods Village, a retirement community and medical care facility. Others include Walmart, Sturgis Hospital, the Sturgis Public School System, Kroger, Telemark, and the City of Sturgis, among many others.

Another major industry is agriculture; cultivating the rich soil of the Sturgis/St. Joseph County area is an extremely lucrative business. A great amount of corn is grown here; more popcorn and seed corn is raised in St. Joseph County than in any other area county, causing the county to be dubbed the “Seed Corn Capital of the World.” The farms are great employers, hiring hundreds of people for summer work each year.

Sturgis has much to offer new or expanding companies, as evidenced by the large assortment of businesses and industries already calling Sturgis home. Economic Development resources through the City of Sturgis are always available, in addition to services through the Sturgis Area Chamber of Commerce and other partners such as Southwest Michigan First, the Sturgis Downtown Development Authority, the Sturgis Improvement Association, and Generate Sturgis.

The City’s economic development services, including the Sturgis Economic Development Corporation (EDC), work closely with SouthwestMichigan First to provide support to local industries, and the City’s Business Development Team is available to help any prospective business as they look to establish, move to, or grow in the community. The Sturgis Area Chamber of Commerce is constantly active in promoting the area and helping prospective new businesses or industry in any way possible. The Chamber is truly an outstretched hand to the community, answering dozens of inquiries daily from a myriad of mixed concerns.

For the downtown, support comes from the Sturgis Downtown Development Authority, which focuses on efforts to create a vibrant downtown with strong businesses. The Sturgis Improvement Association (SIA) is a nonprofit organization that has as its objective community improvement by building partnerships among business and other stakeholders, pursuing new opportunities for economic growth and development, and actively working to develop the area’s economic resources. Finally, Generate Sturgis is a committee with its focus on entrepreneurialism, working with the support of volunteers from the community, City and Chamber to promote and develop business in Sturgis.

One of the resources Sturgis has to offer businesses is land available for industrial development. Sturgis currently has four industrial parks with acreage available for new businesses. Dresser Industrial Park is located on the south end of town on Bogen Road between South Nottawa and South Lakeview. Close to Interstate 80/90, Dresser Park is currently the only industrial park in Michigan site certified for food processing industries and features significant acreage with utilities in place and ready for development. Stapleton Industrial Park, located on the north side of town, north of the airport, includes 40 platted acres divided into 15 sites and an additional 60 acres available for development. Bullard Industrial Park, located on Kitson Avenue, has sites designed for smaller businesses with additional acres for a larger business placement. Finally, Airport Industrial Park is located south of Kirsch Municipal Airport and while it is nearly occupied, does have limited space available.

The City of Sturgis works very hard to be business friendly in all of its many departments. New or expanding businesses will by the nature of the process interact with the City in matters of zoning, building, utilities and more. The City’s zoning ordinance and communityMaster Plan both establish rules for location and usage, with the objective of keeping Sturgis as a vital, vibrant and appealing area for both residents and businesses. City ordinances governing the look and safety of the community include rules that will impact businesses, such as building, fire, signage and property maintenance codes, among others.

While the City is tasked with enforcing these rules for all citizens and property owners, processes, such as the Business Development Team, are in place to help make it as smooth as possible and put businesses in the best position to succeed. All necessary information concerning codes, ordinances and regulations is also readily available at Sturgis’ City Web site, and City officials are always available for consultation.

In addition to the other economic development tools available to Sturgis, the Sturgis Area Chamber of Commerce is a key community resource. Available to citizens, visitors, and businesses, the Chamber serves as a business and community promoter, as well as a resource to answer questions.

Membership in the Chamber of Commerce is what provides the resources to do its good work. Special benefits are available to Chamber members, including:

  • Referrals
  • The opportunity to advertise in the monthly newsletter "Chamber Calling"
  • Assistance celebrating grand openings
  • Business and health insurance group rates
  • Chamber Dollars, including promotions with the "Dollars" usable at participating businesses
  • Business Advocacy Committee
  • Member Rewards for sharing discounts member-to-member The Chamber also sponsors an annual golf outing fundraiser and Annual Dinner to celebrate the year’s business accomplishments….

Sturgis: a community working together for the good of all.