Once thought to be a goner, Stanley Black & Decker continues to grow in Greater Baltimore
Stanley Black & Decker executive Allison Nicolaidis stood proudly in front of 200 industry insiders on a summer night and proclaimed Baltimore as “the new home of Craftsman.”
It was a bold statement from Nicolaidis, who heads marketing for Stanley Black & Decker’s Towson-based power tools and storage division. But the tool giant has clearly backed up her assertion. It remains one of Maryland’s economic heavyweights despite the 2010 acquisition that moved Black & Decker’s headquarters out of state to Stanley Works’ Connecticut hometown.
Black & Decker had 1,400 workers in Maryland when it merged with Stanley Works in a $4.5 billion deal. Stanley Black & Decker now has more employees in Maryland — about 2,300 — than it has ever had before. And it’s ramping up to hire hundreds more.
It’s an unusual twist to the story of losing a corporate headquarters, especially a Fortune 500 company. Black & Decker, founded in 1910, seemed destined to become the latest in a long list of Baltimore companies to disappear. Baltimore had already lost USF&G, Alex. Brown & Sons and Mercantile Bankshares in mergers that drained jobs and philanthropic support.
“The concern was that the headquarters was going to Connecticut and that would be the precursor for the rest of the operations leaving,” said Donald C. Fry, CEO of the Greater Baltimore Committee, the region’s business advocacy group. “That has proven to not be the case. It’s good to know they are still committed to the region.”
Stephen Subasic, a vice president at Stanley Black & Decker, said Baltimore County is the “epicenter” of the company.
Towson still houses its $9 billion tools and storage business at a 31-acre campus off East Joppa Road. The division accounts for about 70 percent of the company’s total sales.
Revenue is expected to grow massively over the next five years as Stanley Black & Decker aims to reach $22 billion by 2022, up 73 percent from $12.7 billion last year.
To achieve that growth, Stanley Black & Decker is doubling down on Baltimore County. The company invested $8.5 million and plans to create 400 jobs at the Greenleigh at Crossroads development in White Marsh.
“It is a strategically important location for us as it relates to this part of the business,” said Subasic, who oversees human resources for the tools and storage division. “We’ve gone through a thoughtful process to continue expanding the footprint in this area.”
Since 2010, and in the last year particularly, Stanley Black & Decker has invested about $60 million in the region. For example:
In January, Stanley Black & Decker signed a lease for 6,500 square feet at 210 Allegheny Ave. There, the company houses employees for the headquarters of its engineered fastening division. Six months later in July, Stanley Black & Decker doubled its space in the building.
After buying the Craftsman brand from Sears in 2017, Stanley Black & Decker created 125 jobs in its tools and storage business. The company relaunched Craftsman in August and unveiled 1,200 new products developed in Towson and expects to grow the brand by $1 billion over the next 10 years.
Stanley Black & Decker opened a 4,500-square-foot makerspace at 8844 Orchard Tree Lane in Towson a year ago. There, company employees have access to 3D printers, laser engravers and other machinery to try out ideas that could lead to the creation of brand new products.
Baltimore County’s economic development chief, Will Anderson, began talking to Stanley Black & Decker when his office heard “rumblings” the company was eyeing expansion. Late County Executive Kevin Kamenetz told Anderson to, “Go get it.”
“We showed them our best,” Anderson said. “Greenleigh hit a total sweet spot. It gave them not only what they need, but room to continue to grow.”
The Maryland Department of Commerce provided Stanley Black & Decker with a conditional $2 million loan. The county matched with a $200,000 conditional loan.
Stanley Black & Decker has expanded in the region beyond its tools and storage division as well. Bob Welsh, a local executive with the company, describes Baltimore County as the company’s innovation headquarters.
The proximity to Maryland’s high-quality colleges and universities is one of the main reasons Stanley Black & Decker has remained committed to the area. The company has partnerships with local institutions for internships. Total, it has about 550 graduates from Maryland colleges and universities among its workforce.
“Why pay massive relocations to bring people in from out of state if some of the best of the best are right here in our own backyard?” said Welsh, a vice president who oversees innovation.
Outside of Baltimore County, Stanley Black & Decker continues to operate a 130-employee manufacturing facility in Carroll County that specializes in the powdered metal process.
The company also remains involved in Maryland philanthropically.
Spokesman Tim Perra remembers taking a call from the Sandtown-Winchester chapter of Habitat for Humanity. The organization was worried that it would no longer receive funding.
Perra promised that Stanley Black & Decker would fulfill its commitment.
“We went into it knowing that it was going to be important and that we were going to invest in the community,” Perra said.
Stanley Black & Decker has continued to support Habitat for Humanity by providing tools, money and volunteer hours for the nonprofit’s annual home building blitz. About 250 employees get involved every year.
The company also partners with organizations like Junior Achievement and the United Way of Central Maryland. Elise Lee, chief innovation officer and chief development officer for the United Way of Central Maryland, said Stanley Black & Decker company contributed $100,000 last year and matched employee donations.
Through its membership in the Maryland Chamber of Commerce, the company became involved with the state’s Pathways in Technology Early College High School, known as the P-Tech program for short. Stanley Black & Decker is partnering with Whiting-Turner Contracting Co. and KCI Technologies at Dundalk High School.
The six-year program, only offered at certain schools, gives ninth-grade students the opportunity to received a high school diploma as well as an associate’s degree without accruing college debt. Companies partner with the schools to develop a curriculum to ensure students come out with the skills they need.
“There were some concerns that the community would not benefit from this and I think we’ve been able to over the long term show that we want to be a meaningful part of the Towson community,” Perra said.
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