Fiskars, the Finnish consumer products company best known for its orange-handled scissors, announced Wednesday it would build a new base of operations for North, Central and South America in Middleton and create 55 jobs as part of a $26.3 million project that also will move a longtime Fiskars location out of Madison.
Expected to open in fall 2016, the new building could employ up to 400 people in 108,000 square feet of office, research and development space. Wisconsin also sweetened the pot for Fiskars, pledging up to $800,000 in state tax credits tied to the new jobs through 2018 and $3.15 million in tax increment financing from Middleton to help with site development, a statement from Gov. Scott Walker’s office said.
“Retaining this headquarters in the metro area is very good for the region and for Fiskars, particularly with the company’s focus on innovation and R&D,” Paul Jadin, president of the Madison Region Economic Partnership, said in the statement Wednesday. “The creative talent pool available in this region will serve the company well as it expands and grows its product line.”
The statement said the Middleton location will consolidate operations now taking place in Illinois and at Fiskars’ Madison facility at 2537 Daniels St., which has long been described by company leaders as the North American headquarters for Fiskars, a global supplier of products for the home, garden, office and outdoors.
“We are enthused that Fiskars has chosen to stay in the Madison area,” Middleton Mayor Kurt Sonnentag said in the statement. “Fiskars has had a longstanding commitment to this area, and we are pleased to have found the means to keep them thriving in our community.”
Sonnentag also said Fiskars is expected to bring about 276 employees to the building site at the corner of Discovery Drive and Deming Way, where the project, including a parking ramp, will be overseen by developer John K. Livesey. Fiskars spokeswoman Amanda Weibel on Monday confirmed that all roughly 234 Fiskars employees in Madison will be moving to the new Middleton location, which she described as west of the Beltline, in Middleton's Discovery Springs business park.
The Madison location, which is leased, survived an earlier company consolidation that shuttered two previous Wisconsin Fiskars locations — warehouse and distribution centers in Sauk City and Wausau — ending 115 company jobs in those two cities in 2010 and 2011. The Madison location at that time employed 200 people.
But Wednesday, Fiskars leaders said the company has outgrown the Madison location and needs more space to better accommodate the acquisition last year of a company in Peoria, Illinois, as well as to “promote collaboration and efficiency,” according to the statement.
“Our business is growing, and our talented team is increasing,” said Fiskars president Paul Tonnesen. “The new building will have smarter workspaces and collaboration areas, as well as a dedicated innovation center for (research and development).”
Fiskars has operated in Wisconsin since 1977 and in Dane County since 1989. Fiskars Americas is part of the 365-year-old Fiskars Corp., based in Helsinki, Finland, where it is that country’s oldest company. Globally, it employs 4,800 employees in more than 20 countries and sells products in more than 60 countries, leaders said.
“Fiskars Americas is a critical component of the company global structure,” Fiskars Corp. CEO Kari Kauniskangas said. “We’re thrilled to be expanding our presence in Wisconsin, a location that aligns well with our company culture and is home to one of our largest corporate branches and design centers.”
Walker spokeswoman Laurel Patrick referred questions about the project to WEDC officials, who could not be reached Wednesday evening. A message left for Sonnentag was not immediately returned Wednesday. An exact location for the new Middleton building was not provided in the statement.