Flex-N-Gate, Preferred Freezer Services, and Unilever Invest in Chicago

Mayor Emanuel announces three separate companies are enhancing their manufacturing operations in the city’s neighborhoods


Global automotive part manufacturer, Flex-N-Gate Corporation, recently announced it is opening a manufacturing facility that will create hundreds of jobs on the South Side of Chicago. The project will convert an existing warehouse facility into a modern operation that will serve automakers, including the Chicago Ford Assembly Plant, and generate nearly 300 new manufacturing jobs.

“We are seeing a manufacturing renaissance in Chicago and today Flex-N-Gate is building on that momentum,” Mayor Rahm Emanuel said. “This new facility will create hundreds of new full-time jobs, bring tens of millions of dollars in new investments, and strengthen Chicago’s manufacturing ecosystem for generations to come.”

“The U.S. automotive industry is strong, and that’s also true here today in my beloved state of Illinois and in the great city of Chicago,” said Flex-N-Gate President and Owner Shahid Khan. “We fully anticipate that our future operation here will be a difference-maker for Flex-N-Gate, Ford Motor Company, the automotive industry and workers here in the Chicago area.”

Flex-N-Gate was named the 10th-largest original equipment supplier in North America and the 38th largest supplier in the world by Automotive News. The company employs more than 23,000 people at 62 manufacturing facilities and nine product development and engineering facilities throughout the world. Flex-N-Gate will begin its lease of the 288,000 square foot-facility in January 2018.


Mayor Emanuel also recently joined Clarius Partners and Preferred Freezer Services to cut the ribbon on a state-of-the-art refrigeration facility on Chicago’s Lower West Side. The new $45 million facility will employ 52 people and benefit food industry businesses throughout Chicago.

Developed by Clarius Partners, the 227,000-square-foot facility at 2357 S. Wood St. will be leased by Preferred Freezer Services, which employs more than 50 people at the new location (including approximately 40 new employees in addition to workers relocated from other locations in the city). Approximately 300 jobs were created during construction.

“This facility represents a major job-creating investment in the Pilsen neighborhood,” Ald. Danny Solis said. “It also is an example of how we are building a brighter future for this neighborhood and the entire city of Chicago.”

Founded in 1989, Preferred Freezer Services (PFS) is one of the largest refrigerated warehouse companies in North America, with 37 facilities in nine regions nationwide, totaling more than 270 million cubic feet of chilled space. PFS has additional operations in China and Vietnam.


Unilever also recently announced a major capital investment in its factory in Chicago’s Little Village neighborhood. The improvements will modernize the site, give the factory more flexibility for future growth, reduce truck traffic, and add significant landscaping to the neighborhood. The improvements will support the continued efficient operation of the factory, which has more than 200 employees.

“We appreciate the support of City leaders for this major project,” Mark Carter, Supply Leader at Unilever said. “The investment will help us improve our site to operate more efficiently and is designed to benefit our neighborhood with reduced truck traffic and beautiful landscaping and buffering.”

“This plant supports hundreds of neighborhood jobs and this investment will help it continue to operate and benefit the Little Village community for generations to come,” Alderman Ricardo Muñoz said. “I look forward to continuing to work with Unilever as they continue to grow and create even more jobs.”

The plant produces Hellmann’s and Best Foods Mayonnaise, the best-selling mayonnaise in the United States.