A $1 purchase is providing a place for custom molder Cado Products Inc. to grow its business.
The 46-year-old blow molder and injection molder put down $1 recently to buy an abandoned paper mill in Fitchburg, Mass.
``We paid a dollar, but it needs a lot of rehabilitation - new roofs and cleanup. We have to remove the debris - it is basically an abandoned building. We'll probably spend $500,000-$600,000 to rehabilitate the building, but the exact amount is still unknown,'' said Claude Chapdelaine, vice president and co-owner.
The project will require knocking down part of the building, Chapdelaine explained in a telephone interview. He expects that in about a year, Cado will have a 60,000- to 70,000-square-foot facility for its molding operations. The company plans to use part of the building for warehouse space this summer.
Cado, co-owned by Bruce Zarozny, currently operates out of a 16,000-square-foot building in Fitchburg. It has eight blow molding machines and two injection presses. The company employs 20-25, and, according to Chapdelaine, the number will double once the new building is operational.
Chapdelaine's father, Romeo Chapdelaine, started the business in Leominster, Mass., as a mold maker called Chapdelaine Tool Co. It moved to Fitchburg six years ago. The elder Chapdelaine died recently at age 80.
Claude Chapdelaine said that increased competition, especially from outside the United States, has made the mold-making business less profitable. The firm still makes molds to support customers, but is seeking to increase its custom molding.
He said Cado produces such items as urine-collection bottles, photo-finishing bottles, toys and novelties. It also offers proprietary products such as tee markers for golf courses and a patented, blow molded ball and bat set.
``Our business has been growing substantially,'' he said, noting a 20 percent rise in sales the past few years. Blow molding is Cado's main growth area, he said.
The firm has worked with state and city officials to take over the paper mill site, which will include the cleanup of some minor oil and cleaning-fluid contamination.