Good hair day for BWI business area

June 27, 1994

One of the success stories of Germany's post-World War II economic miracle has been Goldwell GmbH. The company has grown into one of the world's largest producers of hair care products and cosmetics and is now controlled by the Japanese.

Since Goldwell sells exclusively to professional beauty salons, it is not a household name. That may change for Anne Arundel countians, who ought be paying attention to this company's U.S. subsidiary.

After having headquartered its operations at Annapolis Junction, Goldwell Cosmetics' U.S. subsidiary has announced its intention to begin building in August a $25 million North American manufacturing plant and headquarters near Baltimore-Washington International Airport.

The selection of a 20-acre site in the Hock Business Park, across from the Westinghouse headquarters, is a significant vote of confidence in Anne Arundel County and Maryland. Gov. William Donald Schaefer, upon returning from Europe earlier this month, listed his discussions with Goldwell executives as one of the trade mission's highlights.

The site's proximity to the airport in Linthicum was a major factor, according to J. Gary Lee, a local real estate broker. The cosmetics firm will use its new facility for extensive employee training.

"It is very important for Anne Arundel County and the state to have a nationally recognized company with big international operations put a headquarters in the area," Mr. Lee said.

Indeed, Goldwell Cosmetics is not only talking about moving its headquarters staff to the BWI location but concentrating all its North American production there. That should mean more manufacturing jobs.

Transport considerations also had played a key role in the U.S. Postal Service's decision to locate a mail processing facility in that same business park. That facility has been in operation for about a year.

Goldwell, for its part, has been known as an innovator internationally in hair treatment. It is a leader in perm applications and introduced the world's first coloration computer to cover tinting, highlighting and other coloring treatments.

Until the recession, the BWI hub had been one of Maryland's hottest growth engines. Overbuilding and downsizing in defense industries caused considerable vacancies, however.

In recent months, the BWI commercial real estate market has shown signs of firming up again. The Goldwell decision strengthens that view.

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