Two more businesses are shifting operations from south Cook County across the state line to Northwest Indiana.
MAC Medical Supply Co. Inc. has relocated a warehouse from Tinley Park to Munster, after needing more room to grow. Willow Springs-based Tec Air Inc. is moving its manufacturing of heating and air conditioning components to the same business park.
The medical supply wholesaler is investing $1.6 million to renovate and equip a 67,000-square-foot space in the Lake Business Center on Calumet Avenue in Munster. Tec Air Inc. also recently finalized a deal to lease 128,000 square feet in the business park, said Mitchell Simborg, president of Simborg Development, which has been redeveloping the former mattress factory.
Tec Air plans to employ up to 200 workers in Munster after expanding in Indiana, Simborg said.
MAC Medical Supply Co. currently employs 18 workers and could add as many as 40 more in various positions by 2016, said Millie Maddocks, owner and CEO. The company aspires to add even more positions over time and already has employed five Indiana residents but is not currently hiring.
The Indiana Economic Development Corp., which serves as the state's department of commerce, gave the company up to $300,000 in incentives that include tax breaks and a training grant.
Maddocks, who has lived in Munster for 25 years, said she chose to move company's warehousing and distribution operation to Indiana because of the lower operating costs. Indiana has lower property and payroll taxes, and more affordable warehouse and office space, reducing the company's overhead in a competitive market.
She founded the company, which still will have an office in Chicago, 13 years ago. MAC Medical distributes mainly American-made medical supplies to hospitals across the United States and around the world. Major customers include national distributor Owens and Minor and the U.S. Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs.
The company distributes medical products such as chemotherapy protection devices, sterile specimen containers, surgical instrument cases and wound care supplies in all 50 states and to DOD posts across the globe.
Business has been strong, and the company recently started distributing new products, including ultrasound gels and medical lip balms. MAC Medical Supply Co. occupies about 30 percent more space in its new location in the Lake Center Business Park.
Simborg has invested more than $60 million in the former Simmons Mattress facility, which is now the most active of its 20 properties with available space.
"It's a hot property," he said. "This is the first location across the border in Indiana, where the cost of doing business is lower."
Other Illinois companies are expressing interesting in the remaining 300,000 square feet of industrial space, and in the 30,000 square feet of office space that's still available.
Businesses in southern Cook County and the south suburbs have been beating a path to Indiana in recent years, in pursuit of lower taxes and a lower cost of doing business.
Companies such as Land O'Frost, Modern Forge and RACO have moved operations across the state border. Even popular ice cream stand Dari-Ville fled Lansing for Dyer, after the owner said he could not continue to afford paying the higher Illinois taxes.
Illinois' corporate tax rate is two full percentage points higher than Indiana's rate. The Hoosier State is cutting its corporate tax by another percentage point to 6.5 percent by 2015, while the Prairie State's unfunded pension liability has many business owners worried about future tax bills.