BENTON HARBOR, MICH. —
The world's largest appliance manufacturer is turning 100 next year and celebrated the milestone by starting work on a new, consolidated corporate campus, opening a central business facility in Chicago, and unveiling an anniversary logo that will herald a year-long centennial celebration.
The new Chicago facility, dubbed “The World of Whirlpool Corporation,” occupies nearly 30,000 square feet in the city’s Reid Murdoch Center and features working kitchens, laundry rooms, garages, outdoor entertaining areas and flexible meeting space. Described as a “flagship brand and product experience center,” the showroom is more readily accessible than Whirlpool’s corporate campus here, and will become the company’s de facto meeting and training facility for retailers, sales associates, builders, designers and the media.
“Opening in Chicago … made sense to our business,” said Marc Bitzer, president of Whirlpool North America. “The location offers a central travel hub for trade customers and industry influencers from throughout the world … and a vibrant design community.”
In turn, Whirlpool will consolidate its sprawling corporate facilities from 15 owned and leased sites throughout Benton Harbor and nearby St. Joseph, to three main area campuses, including a new three-building, three-story complex in Benton Harbor that will be built over the next five years. Whirlpool broke ground on the project on Nov. 11, its founding date, and also began work that day on a 1 million-square-foot, premium cooking-product plant in Cleveland, Tenn.
The groundbreaking ceremonies, and the ringing of the closing bell of the New York Stock Exchange by chairman/CEO Jeff Fettig, helped usher in a year-long centennial celebration that will be highlighted by a new 100th anniversary logo. The logo will be introduced at all Whirlpool locations worldwide, and used in both external and internal communications.
“The 100th Anniversary logo reflects Whirlpool Corporation’s heritage, global reach and our eye towards the future,” Fettig said. “But while we have a proud history, this is really about looking forward to the next 100 years and how we will continue to influence home and family life for future generations.”
Other events planned throughout the year will include:
• the publication of an official history of Whirlpool Corp.;
• the launch of an employee volunteerism program rallying employees to contribute 100 volunteer hours;
• select facility tours for corporate partners and media; and
• documentaries and media appearances highlighting the company’s history and accomplishments. The company was founded by Lou Upton, Emory Upton and Lowell Bassford, who introduced the first electric wringer washing machine in 1911.