Business

Eco Lips to relocate to Cedar Rapids, getting $230,000 in tax credits from state

State approves more than $230,000 in tax credits for lip balm maker's move, expansion

Eco Lips' current facility is seen in Marion on Friday. Owner Steve Shriver plans to either sell or sublease the facilit
Eco Lips’ current facility is seen in Marion on Friday. Owner Steve Shriver plans to either sell or sublease the facility. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)
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Eco Lips plans to move from its current Marion location into a larger Cedar Rapids facility, with help from Iowa Economic Development Authority’s approval of $238,410 in tax credits Friday morning.

The new site is expected to more than double Eco Lips’ manufacturing and warehouse space and create 13 additional jobs.

“We have just been growing at unbelievably rapid rates,” Eco Lips owner Steve Shriver told The Gazette Friday.

“We had planned on our Marion location being our home for at least a decade, and we outgrew it rapidly.”

Eco Lips, which produces organic lip balm and has products in more than 10,000 retail locations, plans to purchase a 78,750-square-foot facility at 6000 Huntington Court NE.

The property, which previously housed Hunter Specialties, was assessed at $2.8 million in 2019.

A 4 percent investment tax credit accounts for more than 90 percent of the IEDA funding. The rest comes from a refund of sales, service or use taxes during construction.

The project is expected to cost $5.7 million and be completed by April 2021. Manufacturing operations will “move iteratively” and will not disrupt operations.

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“I wish that we could take time to move and take a break,” Shriver said. “But we’re just too busy to do that.”

Shriver plans to sell or sublease the current Marion facility located at 1199 44th St. Shriver looked for other locations in Marion but could not find one suiting the company’s needs.

The Cedar Rapids City Assessor’s Office determined the project will not “substantively increase” the taxable valuation of the property, so the city of Cedar Rapids did not have to match the IEDA funds.

Shriver also is co-owner of Brewhemia coffee shop in the New Bohemia District and other area businesses.

Founded in Cedar Rapids in 2003, Eco Lips moved out of its 12,000-square-foot space at 329 10th Ave. SE about two years ago for the 36,000-square-foot space in Marion.

“It will be great to have ‘Made in Cedar Rapids’ printed on all our packaging again,” Shriver said.

Comments: (319) 398-8394; john.steppe@thegazette.com

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