BENTON HARBOR — A property dispute between Benton Harbor’s longest-surviving manufacturer and a golf course development backed by Benton Harbor’s largest company, appliance giant Whirlpool Corp., has spilled over into the Internet.
New Products Corp. has launched a Web site, www.WhatIsTheBigSqueeze.com. The company said the site “is seeking to raise public awareness and support about ongoing property encroachment and other issues impacting the company” and will “reveal how its operations are being squeezed by other interests in the community.”
“We’ve worked hard to be good neighbors since my grandfather Walter Miller founded the company 90 years ago,” said Cheryl Miller, NPC’s president and CEO. “However, we can no longer be silent about ongoing attempts to squeeze our operations and threaten our future. New Products is being bullied, and it needs to stop.”
In September, NPC filed a lawsuit against Harbor Shores, the city of Benton Harbor and others after numerous attempts to notify Harbor Shores through correspondence and “no trespassing” signs that a portion of its golf course was constructed on NPC’s property.
The lawsuit was filed in Berrien County Circuit Court. Defendants in the complaint are Harbor Shores BHBT Land Development LLC, Harbor Shores Golf Course LLC, the City of Benton Harbor, Benton Township; Whirlpool Corp., PNC Bank and Michigan Magnet Fund E LLC.
A copy of NPC’s legal complaint is available on the new Web site. The complaint seeks damages for trespass and permanent injunctive relief from the defendants’ encroachment of property belonging to New Products Corp.
WhatIsTheBigSqueeze.com also includes descriptions with photos and maps of other issues impacting public safety and the company’s operations, along with recommendations for how the public can help raise awareness and advocate for NPC.
“Visitors to the Web site are welcome to draw their own conclusions,” Miller said. “However, we see an obvious pattern to squeeze us out of business. If we don’t take a stand now, there will be no manufacturing left in Benton Harbor. Is that what Michigan wants?”
Founded in Benton Harbor in 1922, NPC is a global supplier of custom, precision die-cast aluminum and zinc parts for thousands of applications in a variety of industries, including automotive, military, industrial machinery, medical instruments, household appliances, transportation equipment, furniture and fixtures, and more. Today, NPC is a TS 16949 certified, woman-owned small business, recognized for its world-class quality. The company currently employs 100 people, a third of which are Benton Harbor residents.
More about the company at www.newproductscorp.com.