Guerilla Graffix Expands

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With the slash of a steam shovel, the old lumber storage building behind Guerilla Graffix crashes to the ground, in its place, a 17,000 square foot expansion will soon arise.

"Right now all of our warehousing is in out-buildings. So, our warehouse staff has to come in and out of the cold constantly, we provide warm clothing for them, but it's difficult to contend with the cold weather, so we'll be warehouse complete in one building," says Guerilla Graffix President John Smithline.

Guerilla Graffix moved into the old Hauser lumber site on Broadway two years ago, the company is growing, and owner John Smithline says around 15 jobs will be created with the expansion.

"We're about five years old. We're the number one printer in the country for Reebok, and we probably do about 20,000 to 25,000 shirts a day for Nike," says Smithline.

Mark Podemski, vice president for development for the Rockford Area Economic Development Council, says the council concentrates 60-70 percent of it's efforts on existing businesses.

"What can we do to make existing businesses more successful? Now, Guerilla is doing this pretty much on their own, and they're doing a great job. But, as we think about industry, we want to concentrate on the companies that are here today. It isn't just about attracting, those companies will see good things happening, and will ultimately want to be a part of that as they see housing increases, retail developments. These are all things that certainly present a better picture to potential clients who may want to move here, or others who want to expand," says Podemski.

Smithline says the company set-up shop in the mid-town area, because of the neighborhood’s history, and character.

"If people would come in and start doing things with these buildings, resurrecting them We've gotten letters from people in the neighborhood that thanked us for coming in here. They think it looks great down here, and they're very pleased with everything going on," says Smithline.

Podemski says the economic wheels in the region are spinning, and expansions like Gurerilla Graffixs, he says, make that evident.

The million dollar expansion is expected to be finished by the end of February.