Briggs & Stratton announces major expansion to Poplar Bluff plant

Friday, August 16, 2019

POPLAR BLUFF, Mo. — Changes will be coming to Briggs & Stratton’s location in Poplar Bluff, bringing more than 200 new jobs over time and a $15 million investment.

Company officials told the Daily American Republic Thursday morning they are certain they will hire for 130 new jobs in Poplar Bluff over the next 12 months, with around 140-150 additional jobs in year two.

A capital investment of $15 million is expected to help streamline production and increase the utilization of available square footage.

“This is very exciting news for Poplar Bluff, Butler County and the entire region,” Poplar Bluff Chamber of Commerce President Steve Halter said in statement. “We have been a Briggs & Stratton town for over 30 years now and are proud to have such a great employer and supporter of our community. I thank all of our local and state teams who played such an important role in Briggs making the decision to expand their operation locally. We look forward to Briggs & Stratton having many more successful years in Poplar Bluff.”

One new state program, Missouri One Start, was key in the company’s decision to expand, according to the press release.

It is operated by the Missouri Department of Economic Development.

Through this program, $175,000 is available to Briggs & Stratton to train new and existing employees.

In addition, Missouri One Start says it will provide the company with personalized recruitment and screening assistance to ensure the company has the skilled workforce they need to be successful.

The new jobs are expected to provide an average salary of $36,531, officials say.

“One of our top priorities is to get more Missourians into the workforce, but to do that we also need quality jobs to fill,” Governor Mike Parson said. “Briggs & Stratton’s expansion will ultimately bring hundreds of new job opportunities, and we appreciate the company’s continued commitment to our citizens, to Butler County and to Missouri.”

This is great news for Poplar Bluff, city manager Mark Massingham said.

“Their decision to expand their operations in Poplar Bluff says a lot about our community and the faith Briggs & Stratton has in Poplar Bluff and the surrounding area,” he said. “There were a lot of people involved that made this happen. It shows what a community that works together can accomplish.”

The company reported in a press release issued today that it will consolidate its small vertical-shaft engines with the closure of its Murray, Kentucky, facility.

The Kentucky plant employs 630 people and is expected to close by the fall of 2020.

Employees will be given the opportunity to relocate to Poplar Bluff.

“Our hearts go out to the families in Murray impacted by this decision,” Halter said. “We hope they can transfer to our area or find other employment.”

While the company stated the small engine market has been stable, it has not grown for several years, partly because of a difficult housing market and lack of affordable single-family homes, according to the press release.

“Our residential engine business continues to be core to our company as we make progress on diversifying our business by growing our commercial presence,” CEO Todd Teske said in a press release. “This production consolidation is important for the long-term health of this operation and will allow for better utilization of our assets by freeing up resources that we can use on growth areas within our company.

“Our team in Murray has done great things over the three decades since the plant was established. We are grateful for their work and the support we have received from the local community and Commonwealth of Kentucky.”

The consolidation is expected to lead to long-term success and will free up resources for other growing assets in the company, according to officials.

The consolidation will save the company an estimated $12 million to $14 million, annualized pre-tax.

Briggs & Stratton Corporation is headquartered in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

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