CHICAGO - Aero Plastics Inc. of Leominster, Mass., is expanding south with a 500,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in Atlanta.
The injection and blow molder will move 80 percent of its manufacturing to the new plant, said Heather Plaster, director of sales and marketing.
``This has been planned for years; we just didn't know the location,'' she said in a Jan. 14 interview at the International Housewares Show in Chicago. ``We were trying to find a location depending on our customers' needs. That was the toughest part.''
Officials would not disclose how much the company is investing in the project. But the new facility, set to open in mid-2003, will be equipped with more than 30 machines. Aero said it will employ about 300 there, not including management.
Aero will continue manufacturing in Leominster with 27 machines: 20 injection presses with clamping forces of 300-2,000 tons, and seven blow molding machines.
Plaster said officials are concerned about the recession. Although the company will not grow as it would in a healthy economy, sales will remain the same or slightly increase.
Aero picked up some market share when Tucker Housewares Inc. went out of business, she said.
``There was a large void for injection molded trash cans, and we filled that,'' Plaster said.
Aero employs nearly 400 at its Leominster facility, which currently hosts 35 machines.