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The industries powering Southwest Michigan’s economy

Multiple companies have set up distribution centers in Southwest Michigan

One of the most important considerations that people make when deciding to move to another city is the state of the economy. It impacts employment, cost of living, real estate conditions, and population growth.

Historically, Kalamazoo has been hard hit by economic contractions that were brought about by the loss of many manufacturing jobs in the 1980s. The sale of Upjohn Pharmaceuticals to Pfizer in the 2000s also resulted in a downturn, as a few thousand jobs were lost. Since then, however, there has been an uptick in growth as tech and other companies moved to the area.

Greater diversification in industries helped bring stability and make Kalamazoo an attractive destination for investors. With more people moving to the region for employment, Kalamazoo homes for sale have achieved a median price of $115,200 according to Zillow.

When looking at the greater Southwest region, at least 20 of the Fortune 1000 companies have headquarters or regional offices here. They include the likes of the Whirlpool Corporation, Abbott Laboratories, Bosch, and the Stryker Corporation. The key industries that these and other firms are making an impact on are:


From Upjohn’s pharmaceutical drugs to Kellogg’s breakfast cereals, the region plays a big role in not only manufacturing but also creating these products. More recent innovations that have also originated here include Eaton’s Hybrid Power Systems, Whirlpool appliances, and Pfizer medications. The region is a big producer of pharmaceuticals, medical devices, plastics, metals, furniture, and food.

Health sciences

A leader in human and animal health innovations, Southwest Michigan is the base for more than 200 regional health science companies and over 80,000 of their employees. It is also the location of the WMed Innovation Center, the International Food Protection Training Institute, and Western Michigan University’s Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine. It is also home to the Midwest’s fourth largest cluster of medical device providers.

Agriculture and food processing

The rich soils and conducive climate of the region help contribute to almost a third of Michigan’s total agricultural sales. Over 60 food processing plants operate from here, with over 19,000 employed. It is also one of the state’s top producers of blueberries, squash, carrots, apples, and milk. The brewing business is just as highly ranked.


Located along the NAFTA corridor, the area is ideally located to facilitate communication between Canada and Mexico. Multiple companies have set up distribution centers to serve the region, including Target and Kenco Logistics. Affordable freight costs have also attracted major freight transport firms that take advantage of the easy access to road, rail, and air.

Business Services

With outsourcing having become a major cost-saving strategy for many companies, Southwest Michigan has proven an ideal destination to shift operations to. Affordability, a large and talented labor pool, and excellent support services make this a great place to set up shop.
The diversity in industries has helped ensure that no dominant player is able to adversely affect the region’s economy. With a lower than average cost of living, affordable commercial property and residential houses for sale in Kalamazoo MI, there are many reasons the city has become an attractive investment destination.

Looking to make Kalamazoo your new home? Let us help you find the right property for your family and business. Browse available homes for sale in Kalamazoo or get in touch with us for professional real estate services that will make this move a delight. Call 269-207-7894 or email Team(at)stirkrealtygroup(dotted)com today.