The two merged last month under the name Office Depot. OfficeMax was based in suburban Chicago and Office Depot in Boca Raton, Fla. Company officials said Tuesday that it appeared the Florida location would better help drive profitability.
Illinois state Sen. Tom Cullerton backed a bill encouraging the company to consider Illinois in exchange for creating 200 jobs. It passed the Senate but House lawmakers adjourned after approving landmark pension reform. Cullerton says Illinois needs a better approach to business retention.
"I did everything I could to bring these jobs to our state," Cullerton said. "Even with this setback, we need to stay proactive and competitive. I will continue to introduce new legislation making Illinois a better destination for the business community."
Rep. Mike Zalewski sponsored a similar bill. He says it was a case of bad timing with the pension vote.
Naperville officials say they are also disappointed in the move, adding OfficeMax moved its headquarters to Naperville in 2006, and has facilities in Itasca, Ottawa and Peru. The headquarters facility in Naperville has 1,250 employees, with another 800-900 at corporate facilities elsewhere in Illinois, the Naperville Development Partnership said.OfficeMax has occupied the building at 263 Shuman Boulevard following a similar site selection process when they combined the retail and corporate headquarters locations into one 360,000 square foot location along Interstate 88, an NDP news release said.
OfficeMax employees have known since February that their company's headquarters might be moved. OfficeMax was purchased ten months ago by Office Depot, based in Boca Raton, Florida.
"This was not just keeping a company here; it was bringing in a brand new company to the state. So, I'm concerned about my constituents now, making sure they find work if they're not selected to move to Florida," said State Rep. Darlene Senger, (R) Naperville. "Speaker Madigan's on the floor debating the pension bill and nothing gets done... again, it's very sad that one guy has so much power that we can't give it a shot."
Madigan's office discounted allegations that the speaker's not calling the incentive bill led directly to the Office Depot decision. Spokesman Steve Brown said, "I'm not aware of anyone who thought Illinois was really in the hunt for Office Depot."
The House adjournment also stalled incentive packages for agri-business giant Archer Daniels Midland and Univar, a chemical distributor. As Office Depot did during its negotiations with Illinois, those companies also have made it clear they have offers from other states.
"The loss to Illinois is considerable on every level. The economic impact of OfficeMax on the region - in stores, schools and communities - is immeasurable. We wish the combined OfficeMax - Office Depot corporation great future success, and want them to know that it has been an honor to host their corporate headquarters in Naperville the past several years. The purchasing power of their employees is a significant economic benefit to our communities and they will be sorely missed in Illinois" said Christine Jeffries, President of the Naperville Development Partnership.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.