Pocono P.E.T. Inc. has bought its Hazleton, Pa., headquarters plant and is adding 23,000 square feet and new equipment, for a total investment of about $3.25 million. Pocono, which had sales of about $8.8 million last year, blow molds PET bottles and jars for the food industry.
The investment comprises $2.25 million for the 40,000-square-foot plant and construction costs, plus about $1 million for new product tooling and a Sidel two-stage blow molding machine, said Pocono President Jack St. Pierre.
The Sidel, Pocono's first two-stage machine, will begin pro-duction in about two weeks on a narrow-neck PET bottle project for a new customer. The company also is gearing up pro-duction on its 11 single-stage
Nissei blow molding machines, with new tooling and products coming on in the next several weeks for new contracts.
St. Pierre said that business ``will probably lead to another single-stage machine very shortly.''
The new contracts represent a dollar value of ``six figures for sure,'' he said. He would not provide specifics or disclose the identities of the new accounts.
``We've been very successful at not telling the world what we do,'' he said in a recent telephone interview.
Pocono acquired the building earlier this year from the Greater Hazleton Community Area New Development Organization, known as Can Do Inc. The private, nonprofit group built the plant to Pocono's specifications in 1986 then leased it to theblow molder, with an option to buy.
``Jack had come to us with a box of empty jars and bottles, with an idea, with a dream, and asked how we could help him out,'' said Can Do Vice President Kevin O'Donnell. ``Because we didn't have a building that suited his needs, we built one.
``We allowed him to get his operation up and running ... cash flowing,'' O'Donnell said. ``He's made it, basically.''
St. Pierre said his firm bought the building because it needed to expand.
``We need more warehouse space than anything else,'' he said. ``We're taking up some of our current warehouse space for production.''
Construction on the addition began about April 1, and should be finished by mid-August, St. Pierre said. A $500,000 state loan is helping with costs.
As a condition of state financing, the firm has agreed to create at least 25 new jobs within the next three years, ``mostly factory personnel,'' he said. Pocono employs 35.
St. Pierre owns the majority interest in the company. A number of outside investors own the n
rest, he said.