State Farm to close Portage facility, city vows to help its 600 employees find work

PORTAGE, Mich. — What has been rumored for weeks, the City of Portage made official Monday morning: the State Farm Automobile Insurance building on Portage Road is closing after twenty years of operation.

“We’re disappointed with the decision that State Farm has made,” said City Manager Larry Shaffer. “We have a great deal of empathy for the 600 employees that will be affected by this.”

The city expressed their appreciation for State Farm in a press release Monday morning. The insurance giant first opened it's door in 1997 and has since grown into company of hundreds. Now the city has vowed to helped all its employees find jobs either within the State Farm family or elsewhere in the area.

“Portage is a very, very successful community,” said Shaffer in an interview at City Hall. “Even though we’re confident about our ability to withstand this kind of hit we are also very concerned about the people that are directly affected.”

Shaffer said the closure is a part of a company-wide systematic reorganization. Portage was named one of the 11 sites that will close by 2019. The city has already reached out to their economic development partner — Southwest Michigan First — to help make the transition as smooth as possible for the employees.

“They’re our friends. They’re our citizens. They’re our neighbors,” said Shaffer. “The city of portage is behind them 100 percent. And we'll do everything in our power to make sure the transition is successful.”

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