Easton-Bell to build new plant in Illinois

Easton Bell Sports, Inc. has announced plans to build a new distribution, assembly and shared services center in Rantoul, Ill.

The new facility is expected to handle products for all four of the company's brands -- Bell, Easton Cycling, Giro and Riddell. All 300 of Easton-Bell's employees, who are currently working in multiple manufacturing and distribution facilities in Rantoul, will be moved into the new 800,000 square-foot plant. It will be one of the company's primary North American sites for assembling, distributing and servicing its products. Easton-Bell expects shorter lead times, high quality order shipments and long-term cost savings from the move.

"Easton-Bell Sports has enjoyed a long and productive history in Champaign County with a loyal, dedicated workforce and highly supportive local community," said Donna Flood, chief operations officer and president of Giro/Easton Cycling. "Creating a more efficient, fully-modernized facility provides a number of important benefits for our business while strengthening our commitment to this area and our people."

Easton-Bell has had a home in Rantoul since 1983. It ships more than 13 million units annually and is one of the area's largest employers.

"We have a well-trained workforce in the area, and when state and local government work together with our economic development agencies, we see opportunities for successes like this," Illinois State Sen. Mike Frerichs said. "I want to thank Easton-Bell Sports for continuing to believe in northern Champaign County."

John Dimit, president and CEO of the Champaign County Economic Development Corporation, added, "Easton-Bell Sports' new center would have a significant year-over-year impact on our local community. This includes $53 million direct economic impact of wages in the East Central Illinois Region, $10 million indirect economic impact of secondary wage spending in the East Central Illinois Region and $11 million induced impact of tertiary wages spent in the East Central Illinois Region."

The new center, subject to final approval of economic incentives by governmental agencies, is expected to be completed in late 2013. It has been funded by a mix of internal/private and public investments.

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