Eray Utucu is the Managing Director of EVE Group, a Business Consulting and Project Management Company, headquartered at the NBC Tower in Chicago.
Eray was born in Turkey, but has lived in the U.S. for over 16 years. He has undertaken several business ventures, investing in and relocating one of the largest Turkish tile companies, as well as a Turkish soap manufacturer to the United States.
Eray spends his days back and forth between Chicago and Elk Grove Village, creating opportunities for Turkish companies to connect with U.S.-based manufacturers and OEMs. After years of partnering with Turkish businesses and bringing them here to grow and expand, Eray decided he wanted to do something big.
At 2800-2900 Lively Blvd. in Elk Grove Village, Eray is in the process of developing a 164,225 square-foot Turkish Trade Center that will include a comprehensive incubator program for Turkish-based manufacturers. The space is currently being renovated, but will soon consist of 18 showrooms, plenty of office space, and an enormous warehouse.
"My vision is to create a space where Turkish businesses could connect with American businesses," states Eray. "One of the biggest values of this program is Turkish and American companies will become neighbors. All materials, supplies and machinery will be bought locally."
By assembling Turkish products here in the United States, Eray hopes to create a space where quality products are made and sold at a lower price. Manufacturers will also have the ability to place orders and ship them locally, without dealing with shipping delays.
To make his vision a reality, Eray leveraged business relationships with the Turkish American Chamber of Commerce and other various Turkey government departments to recruit Turkish companies. So far 33 Turkish businesses are undergoing the application process and a total of 11 have already been contracted.
Each company will have their own office, warehouse space, showroom space, as well as a sales and service team. The Turkish government has agreed to reimburse 70% of rent, plus 70% of marketing initiatives, as long as these companies follow foreign trade zone laws and regulations of the United States.
To help build a sturdy bridge between Turkish and American companies, the Turkish Trade Center will have support from professional management teams, to help Turkish companies adjust to the American system more smoothly.
Eray landed on Elk Grove Village as the destination for Turkish manufacturers because of the opportunity the location brings and the friendly support Elk Grove provides:
"Elk Grove's Economic Development department and the Mayor have been helpful and supportive. Elk Grove is also a big name in the manufacturing industry. You can easily find the resources you need, especially in logistics and manufacturing. Also, the location is unbeatable."