By June, Trans Western Polymers Inc. of Livermore, Calif., will be making private-label bags for grocery and drug stores in a leased, 40,000-square-foot facility in Rush Township, Pa., said Joon Bai, the firm's president and owner. Trans Western will spend about $6 million to install three large Battenfeld Gloucester extruders at the plant, with capacity of 30 million pounds of film per year, he said. Initially the operation will employ 30, doubling that by the end of next year.
Tamaqua Industrial Development Enterprises will build the $1.3 million facili-ty to Trans Western's specifications, said Tide spokesman Frank Zukas.
``We're in the final negotiations of the lease,'' Zukas said, noting that Tide has been working with the firm since January.
Bai said Trans Western will sign the lease this month.
The project had hinged on a $300,000 state grant to Schuylkill County, needed to install a2,215-foot rail spur to link the plant to the railroad, Zukas said. Gov. Tom Ridge announced last week the grant had been approved.
Trans Western extrudes and converts film for a range of private-label products, such as sandwich and disposable bags, at Livermore, near San Francisco, Bai said.
Roughly 20 percent of its business comes from two proprietary bag lines - Hi-Tech and Princess Lori - sold to retail outlets.
Early this year the company gained two new extruders at the Livermore plant, giving it 24 there, with film capacity of 70 million pounds a year, he said.
Also at Livermore, nine injection molding machines make plastic cutlery, he said. Bai would not disclose his company's sales. Eventually he expects to mold plastic cutlery at Rush Township.
Tide already has the required permits in hand to move ahead with the Pennsylvania project.
``We can literally start construction almost instantly,'' said
Zukas, who also heads the Schuylkill Economic Development Corp., a nonprofit group providing administrative services to the borough of Tamaqua, 30 miles northeast of Allentown.
He said Tide is giving Trans Western the option to buy the Rush Township plant, which is expandable to 80,000 square feet.
Trans Western also owns a 75 percent interest in a Honolulu blow molding outfit, Poly Tech Inc., which makes high density polyethylene and PET bottles for water, juice and chemicals, Bai said.