BROOKLYN, Ohio — American Greetings Corp. ended a year of uncertainty by announcing Monday that it will keep its headquarters and 2,000 jobs in northeast Ohio.
But the nation's largest publicly traded greeting-card maker stopped short of announcing where in the region it will locate.
It has been considering its hometown of Brooklyn and four other Cleveland suburbs: Beachwood, Brecksville, Independence and Westlake.
American Greetings said last year that several Chicago-area locations also were under consideration.
American Greetings began looking for a new home when Brooklyn raised its city income tax. Gov. John Kasich, who lobbied to keep the company in Ohio, highlighted the issue of business costs.
"If you do not keep the costs down and allow businesses to make a profit, business will go where they can make a profit," Kasich told reporters after the announcement.
"We were in danger here because of the cost and the bottom line."
Employees crowded into an atrium cheered the news that the company would stay in Ohio. But some groaned when CEO Zev Weiss said no decision had been made on which community would land the jobs.
He said there is no deadline for making a decision. He said the review would focus on finding a corporate home that is compatible with the company's creative culture.
Kasich said incentives, which include $15 million in loans and $3.5 million in grants, were structured to make sure the state would come out ahead financially by keeping the $157 million annual payroll in Ohio.
"At the end, we will wind up doing better than what we had to provide in terms of an incentive," Kasich said.
The company said it and its employees paid more than $14 million in state and local taxes last year. American Greetings expects to spend tens of millions of dollars on the headquarters project.
The company presented an oversized thank-you card to Kasich, who told employees the deal would help families.
"You don't have to decide if you're going to move, disrupt your family and neighborhood and schools and everything else to go somewhere else to do this great work you do," he said.
Jill Froula of Elyria, a 23-year veteran of the company, was picked out of the crowd by the governor to respond to the announcement. She was delighted.
"I love Cleveland," she said. "I get to stay in Cleveland."