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Made in Michigan: American Seating

6:22 PM, Jul 2, 2012   |    comments
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American Seating has chosen to stay in Grand Rapids despite opportunities to move to lower-cost areas.

GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) -- If you've gone to school, a ballgame, or rode a city bus, you've probably sat on an American Seating product.  

The company is marking it's 126th year in business, and is as committed to staying in west Michigan as ever.

Deb McDermott, a company marketing executive, says American Seating has had a "couple of opportunities from a cost standpoint to move manufacturing" - but they've always chosen to stay.  Why?

"We're committed to the community," says McDermott.  "We believe in American made products, we believe in protecting the jobs and we wanted to stay right here in Grand Rapids where we were founded."

The company employs about 450 people on west side of Grand Rapids.  It owns 80% of the market for public transit seating, like the seats found in busses.  You'll also find it's seats in some of the nation's premiere outdoor sports stadiums, as well as in school and office settings.

On a recent visit, we saw Terry Sheler of Hudsonville assembling a new line of bus seats bound for San Bernadino, California.   Sheler was grateful for his job, especially since his last employer, a large local manufacturer, shipped his old job to Mexico years ago. 

"Hopefully this (job) doesn't go anywhere, we can keep it in Michigan," Sheler said.

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