Wolverine Worldwide has announced it will relocate its local shipping and receiving operations to another facility in the region by the beginning 2017. The company said it will expand its Big Rapids facility by 16,000 sq ft in order to house its local shipping and receiving operations, currently located in Rockford.

The relocation of the shipping and receiving activities aims to save time and allocate free space in the Big Rapids facility that was used for warehousing. “That space can now be redeployed for manufacturing purposes”, Mike Jeppesen, President, Global Operations Group and Wolverine Heritage Group, told local media.

The expansion works are to be completed during the first quarter of 2017 and the cost has been estimated at US$1 million.

The company, which expects an increase in military shoes orders, said that around 90% of the footwear produced in Big Rapids are for the military.

“We have seen a surge in demand since 2014,” said Jeppesen. “We’ve seen a nearly 30% increase in military demand, and we expect further demand to occur.”

Wolverine also hopes to pick up some military contracts for athletic shoes as the U.S. government is considering including the segment under the Berry Amendment, which requires the military to purchase a number of American-made items, such as clothing and textiles.

Source: Grand Rapids Business Journal