The state of Ohio has approved tax breaks that will help Step2 Co. LLC add employees and invest in equipment at its two factories that make rotational molded toys, mailboxes and lawn and garden products.
The Ohio Tax Credit Authority approved the breaks Aug. 27, covering Step2's headquarters plant in Streetsboro, Ohio, and its plant in Perrysville, Ohio. Step2 will get a 45 percent, six-year tax credit from the expansions.
Step2 expects to add 125 jobs in Streetsboro and 75 jobs in Perrysville during the next three years. Together, the hiring should generate $5.3 million in annual payroll, according to the tax authority, which is part of the Ohio Department of Development.
In Streetsboro, Step2 will build a warehouse to centralize distribution, now housed in several temporary facilities, the state said. At both Streetsboro and Perrysville, Step2 will modify equipment and invest in new machinery. The type of new machinery was not specified. Step2 officials could not be reached for comment.
In 2009, Little Tikes Co. — Step2's arch-rival neighbor — was awarded a $3.2 million low-interest loan to keep the toy rotomolder in Hudson. Officials of Tikes parent MGA Entertainment Inc. had asked for government assistance, saying that the firm could move out of its hometown to another state, or to Mexico.
Both companies have added jobs in the past year, according to Plastics News' most recent rotomolders ranking. Step2 added 100 jobs. Little Tikes reported adding about 170.
Tikes General Manager Tom Richmond said the new hires are about evenly split between full-time and temporary employees. “We're up substantially,” he said.
The hiring boomlet means that together the firms employ about 1,500, making northeast Ohio a center of the U.S. toy industry.