A former toy factory in Amsterdam, N.Y., is evolving into an multipurpose plastics processing company.
Last summer a skeleton crew kept the plant running for Hasbro Inc. while city and state officials worked with the Pawtucket, R.I.-based toy maker to find another use for the site.
``When Hasbro decided to move part of its blow molding business to Texas, we decided to try to keep a portion of the business,'' said Amsterdam Mayor John M. Duchessi.
The work paid off when, on Aug. 28, Donald Henderson bought the factory. His company, TPI Plastics Inc., now has about 175 employees working at the site doing a variety of injection and blow molding projects.
``We can also decorate, assemble, package and ship. It's a complete logistics package.'' Henderson said.
TPI Plastics has 11 injection molding presses, ranging from 90-750 tons of clamping force, and 13 blow molding machines, with shot sizes of 21/2-20 pounds. It recently opened a paint line to help with the seasonal production.
TPI has plenty of space for storage, because the multistory building it occupies once housed an armory.
Besides toys, the company has been making juvenile products, such as car seats and walkers; automotive products, like an oil-change can; and seasonal lawn and garden products and decorations for Christmas and Halloween.
``We're at break-even. We will make a little money this year,'' Henderson said.
The New York plant has a sister operation in Toronto that also concentrates on seasonal consumer products. Henderson said the Canadian company employs more than 200 and has seen annual growth in the neighborhood of 30 percent.
The Amsterdam plant helps fill overflow orders for the Toronto operation. Hasbro is a key customer.
``In order for them to take the gamble, they really had to have some sort of assurance [that Hasbro would buy from the Amsterdam plant],'' said Jerry Ligon, president of Hasbro Manufacturing Services.
``Hasbro is probably 40-45 percent [of sales],'' Henderson said. ``It is a nice base for us, but to be successful we have to get more third-party work in here.''
He is looking to do more, such as gaining certification in ISO 9001 and QS 9000, to open new markets.
TPI leases the plant from the city, which helped put together a package of loans and grants to keep the plant open. TPI bought some equipment from Hasbro, and employs many former Hasbro workers.
``One of the reasons we did the deal was the combination of equipment and well-trained people,'' Henderson said. The plant started production on Sept. 15.
Ligon noted that the city and state helped make the deal possible, saving jobs. He added that the deal is working for Hasbro as well.
``We are a customer of TPI. They are a good vendor to us,'' Ligon said.