A Rhino stampede finally has driven injection molder Empire Precision Plastics of Rochester, N.Y., to a different location in the same city.
Empire's existing site was threatened by plans to build a new stadium for the Rochester Rhinos pro soccer team. The owners of the new stadium - along with Empire's landlord and city, county and state governments - put together a $795,000 package that will allow Empire to relocate to a larger site about five miles away.
The deal allows Empire to keep its 45 jobs in Rochester, which is where owner Neal Elli wanted to stay all along.
``Rochester is centrally located for us and our customers,'' Elli said by phone Jan. 15. ``It's the most advantageous spot for us.''
Elli had wanted to expand his business on city-owned land that now will be used for the stadium. Empire is gaining about 5,000 square feet by moving to the new site, which covers more than 30,000 square feet.
Empire, which posted sales of $7 million last year, primarily molds high-precision parts for the electrical/electronics industry. The 12-year-old firm operates 25 injection molding presses.
Elli credited newly elected county executive Maggie Brooks and Rochester Mayor William Johnson with cooperating and putting together the funding needed for Empire's relocation. Brooks and Johnson had run against each other last fall for the county executive post.
``In the past, Rochester had a pretty fractious city and county government,'' Elli said. ``This [deal] is one of the first things they've done together.''
Empire's move is expected to be complete by September. The 11,000-seat stadium probably won't be completed in time for the Rhinos' 2004 season, but Elli said it could be used for concerts and high school sports later this year.
``The stadium is the best thing for Rochester, but it's also good that we were able to work something out that will let us stay in the city,'' he said.