Cornerstone Chamber Logo

Special-Lite Expands Again; Moves Jobs from Arkansas

  • Share:
March 12, 2021
BENTON CHARTER TOWNSHIP, Mich. (March 12, 2021) - Special-Lite announced it will be moving its fiberglass pultruding and manufacturing to its facility in Benton Charter Township. The company anticipates investing up to $2.3 million for building renovations, machinery and equipment for its facility located on Empire Avenue. In addition to hiring 35 new employees immediately, this expansion will create over 60 new jobs over the next three years.
Founded in 1971, Special-Lite designs, engineers and manufactures high-performance architectural building products, which include commercial entrance systems, interior aluminum (Type II) framing with swing or sliding aluminum framed doors, and FRP restroom partitions. The company originated the use of fiberglass reinforced polyester (FRP) material for door skins in the early 1980’s and is the largest volume producer of commercial FRP doors in the United States today.
The expansion will provide new job opportunities for Benton Charter Township residents. Cathy Yates, Supervisor of Benton Charter Township, said, "Special-Lite is very good for Benton Charter Township, as it allows our residents to get jobs with medical and retirement benefits. I want to thank them for bringing this warehouse of opportunity to our community." Yates added, "I did a personal walk through of the location and was very impressed with the modernized equipment and safety procedures now in place."
Cathy Tilley, Cornerstone Alliance Business Development Manager, led this project from start to finish. "We are thrilled that Special-Lite is transferring all fiberglass pultruding and manufacturing from Arkansas to its facility in Benton Charter Township. Special-Lite knows first-hand the benefits of doing business in the State of Michigan, which includes working with groups like Kinexus to find the talent necessary to be successful. MEDC was also a valuable resource, providing a Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant, and without their support, this project would not have happened.”
Special-lite President and CEO Steven Benscoter said, "We are very excited about the expansion of our Benton Harbor manufacturing operations and the positive impact it will have on the community. We are also very appreciative of all that our Marshall Arkansas team has done in support of the transfer as they continue to support our customers." Benscoter also mentioned the importance of Special-Lite's partnership with Cornerstone Alliance. "One of the keys to our success is the ability to attract talent and we are counting on our partnership with Cornerstone Alliance and MEDC to support our efforts in this area."
About Special-Lite, Inc.
Special-Lite, Inc. is a privately held firm with its headquarters in Decatur, Michigan, and manufacturing locations in Decatur, Michigan; Benton Township, Michigan and Marshall, Arkansas. The company began in 1969 when Ed Smola began working on ideas that in 1971 became Decatur Quality Glass. In this same year, Grant O. Young, who had partnered with Smola in building this business, organized this aluminum flush as well as a stile and rail door company. From the very beginning, the company’s mission has been to design, engineer, manufacture and sell high-performance products for selected segments of the commercial entrance market.
About MEDC
The Michigan Economic Development Corporation is the state’s marketing arm and lead advocate for business development, job awareness and community development with the focus on growing Michigan’s economy. For more information on the MEDC and our initiatives, visit For Pure Michigan® tourism information, your trip begins at
About Cornerstone Alliance
Cornerstone Alliance is a non-profit, investor-governed economic development organization. Our focus is to increase employment opportunities, private sector capital investments and the local tax base in Michigan's Great Southwest. We offer specialized business services particularly in economically distressed areas.