By Jeremy Allen
FLINT, MI – Bob Landaal, vice president of sales and marketing for Landaal Packaging Systems, said that his family didn’t want to miss out on being a part of the great things that are happening in downtown Flint.
In mid-June 2012, Landaal Packaging announced that it would relocate its design team from its 316,000-square-foot Burton facility to 540 S. Saginaw St. inside the Rowe Building in downtown Flint.
Just over a month ago, that vision became a reality when 11 employees began working in the downtown facility.
“First and foremost (Landaal Packaging) is about the people, so we wanted to be a part of the revitalization here downtown,” Landaal said.
“You look at the work that groups like Uptown (Reinvestment Corporation) and the (Genesee Regional) Chamber of Commerce have put together here and you want to be a part of that. From a family standpoint, we wanted to be a part of that and contribute to the great things happening here.”
Landaal said that the new space has given the design and marketing teams the opportunity to take more innovative approaches at developing concepts and ideas and bringing to life.
The designers, who used to work among the manufacturers in the warehouse, are now separate from most of the production, which he said will allow for a better flow of ideas.
“We wanted to create a spot that would allow our creative talent to expand and make their thoughts a reality and this environment here (downtown) will allow that to happen,” Landaal said.
Glenn Smith is one of the corporate designers at Landaal.
Smith said that the ability to work in a facility separate from the plant is good for the design team in a number of ways.
“It’s a great place and it inspires creativity,” he said. “You don’t have all of the plant distractions and everything that you had with forklifts running around and it’s just a nice environment to create in with less distractions.”
Jordan Smith, one of the design engineers, agreed with Glenn Smith, noting that the downtown facility’s ability to immediately produce mock-ups of the engineer’s work also adds to the value.
“It’s a really cool feeling when you can go to seeing something on the drawing board on the computer to being able to fold it up into its physical form right next to you. It’s a pretty cool sense of achievement,” Jordan Smith said.
“It really gets the creative juices flowing being in this new-age type of atmosphere here and it’s funny what it does to your thinking once you get out of that whole plant environment. It’s cool being a part of downtown.”
Landaal said that the company is still settling into its downtown digs and compared it to moving into a new apartment, stating that things are still coming together with the space and they still have to do the little things to make it feel like home.
He said that the company will also have a formal grand opening sometime within the next couple months.
“We’re in planning mode for when we’re going to have our official grand opening,” he said. “We want to wait until the weather is somewhat nice out and people can go out to eat at the restaurants and walk around downtown afterward.
“We don’t have a set date, but I guess it’ll probably be sometime in May,” Landaal said.
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By Jeremy Allen