Battle Creek’s Kellogg’s News; Is this Deja Vu Similar To Upjohn?
When I heard the news this morning that Kellogg's was spinning off parts of its business, and moving its headquarters to Chicago, I had this terrible sense of deja vu. It was 1995 and we heard that Upjohn was merging with Pharmacia to form Pharmacia-Upjohn. That was unsettling, but that's the way of big business. But then the second shoe dropped. Pfizer bought the merged company in 2002 and moved headquarters to New Jersey. While it may not have been panic, it certainly was upsetting and cause for concern, especially for many of the scientists that were living here. Many had families and had no desire to relocate to New Jersey, which was becoming the center of the drug business.
Chicago? Wall Street is Not Impressed
Reading the story in today's Battle Creek Enquirer, it sounds like (nothing is for sure, these are big companies) the biggest of Kellogg's businesses, the snack business, which is 6-7 times bigger than the cereal business, is the one moving its headquarters to Chicago. There's probably a good reason in their minds why Chicago is the place to relocate, but it is not obvious to this average layperson. And not all of Wall Street thinks this is a good idea.
Elson Floyd Deserves A Statue
One thing Western Michigan University did that may not necessarily be applicable to Battle Creek was building the Business Technology Park on the west side of Kalamazoo near 131. Many of the scientists who didn't want to go to New Jersey set up start-up businesses, and that incubator mitigated the "brain drain" that would've happened.
Two decades later, Pfizer manufacturing in Kalamazoo County is bigger than ever, and the recently announced news about the Covid pill will double down on that.
While the sky didn't fall in Kalamazoo, Battle Creek's future feels more tenuous. Hopefully, that's wrong.