RACINE, WI — In 2017, the closing of Imperial Laundry Services at 1236 Thirteenth Street left a City of Racine neighborhood with an empty building and loss of jobs. However, collaborative efforts between a new buyer, the City of Racine, Racine County, the Racine County Economic Development Corporation and the Water and Wastewater utilities have paved the way fora new business to come to Racine. The building has been sold to Pawstar Inc., a small clothing manufacturer that will relocate to Racine from Zion, Ill.
“It’s a great sign that small to medium sized manufacturers are choosing to relocate to Racine. When we can repurpose an existing building and bring additional jobs for our workforce, everyone wins. This is another example of the type of collaboration happening in Racine to bring more investment into the community.”
Cory Mason, Mayor of Racine
Before Pawstar Inc. could take ownership, the property faced significant issues including back taxes, unpaid utility and water bills, and special assessments and charges dating back to 2011. Local government entities worked together on a compromise with the new business and the old owners in which the County forgave some of the tax liability and the City reduced the unpaid utility and water bills. Securing a new property owner for the site provides a significant benefit to the community and the surrounding area, including improved property maintenance, payment of property taxes and utility bills and new job opportunities for area residents.
“Collaboration has been at the core of remarkable progress in Racine County over the past year, and this project shows again the power of working together to benefit the community. In addressing this property’s back taxes, we were happy to do our part to attract new business and improve a neighborhood.”
Jonathan Delegrave, Racine County Executive
Pawstar Inc. currently employs 15 people. It expects to add three more positions this year and another 6-10 over the next five years. Pawstar also anticipates investing an additional $100,000 to $160,000 in renovation costs and equipment at the site.
“Pawstar is pleased to join a community that is well known for manufacturing. We have grown from a small company in our home basement in 2003 and we’re excited to grow into this new space and expand our operations to meet this new potential. As part of our refactoring process we are continuing to implement an initiative focusing on lean manufacturing, reduced paper and material consumption and recycling, and reduced energy usage. It is our goal to minimize the impact on the environment resulting from our manufacturing.”
Scott Force,CFO Pawstar, Inc.