Sports equipment maker Riddell has shed its cloak of secrecy and confirmed it plans to exit its longtime Elyria, Ohio, home and to move production and distribution of football helmets and associated products to a $27 million property it plans to commission in North Ridgeville, Ohio.
In an email, Riddell said it plans to build a new facility “just two miles down the road from our current facility.” The company said it had recently completed its search to identify a site for a new facility.
“We utilized several criteria in evaluating Riddell's need for more space to accommodate the growth of Riddell's business and proximity to its current operations in Elyria [given the area's strong employee base,]” the statement read.
However, Riddell owner BRG Sports of Rosemont, Ill., has larger plans for the move than expanding local operations.
Riddell's prepared statement said it will relocate production of full-size collectible football helmets and distribution of most football gear and apparel to the new facility, where it expects to gain operational efficiencies.
BRG Sports plans to move its consumer business and distribution of select gear and apparel to North Ridgeville from Rantoul, Ill., after selling the plant where those operations were based, along with its Action Sports business, earlier this year, according to an email from Erin Griffin, director of corporate communications for Riddell & BRG.
However, the company would not comment on how many additional jobs would be created by the consolidation, nor would it disclose particulars about the planned building and move. Riddell has close to 500 people working in Elyria, largely employees but also a seasonal third-party workforce, Griffin said. A groundbreaking for the complex is planned for July.
Previously, North Ridgeville City Council and planning commission approved plans for 347,205-square-foot production, warehouse and office structure, including rezoning the site to industrial from commercial use. However, North Ridgeville Mayor David Gillock and other city officials steadfastly refused to name the company until it was ready to be identified. The proposed building is almost 60 percent larger than Riddell's current one.
The empty 40-acre site was occupied by a largely empty shopping plaza that was razed in 2009.