Alpha Packaging Inc. is making a westward push, investing $5 million to open a blow molding plant in July in Salt Lake City.
``As freight costs go up, we felt we had to establish a beachhead in the West, where we have a lot of business,'' President Dave Spence said in an April 29 telephone interview.
Spence said 80,000 square feet of manufacturing and warehouse space will be ready July 15. The company has a lease with a right to purchase the 168,000-square-foot facility, but plans on using only about half of the space to start. The facility will produce high density polyethylene and PET bottles.
Alpha Packaging, based in St. Louis, has been growing along with its customers, supplying bottles and containers for use in the pharmaceutical, nutrition and personal-care markets. Spence said sales have grown to $37 million in 2003, and he expects to reach $45 million this year.
He said Alpha's business has been growing rapidly in the Salt Lake City area, and the location will supply next-day delivery to West Coast customers.
The plant will employ 20, and will take advantage of automation lessons learned at the firm's other two facilities.
The company dramatically has increased its manufacturing capabilities in the past three years. In 2001, it acquired Gutmann Plastics in New York, and in 2002, it consolidated its main office and largest manufacturing operation into a 220,000-square-foot facility in St. Louis. Overall, Alpha employs more than 200.
``Brooklyn has been a home run for us. We added higher-speed machinery and, bottom line, it has worked for us,'' said Spence. He noted that the lower value of the U.S. dollar has made it possible for the company to ship to Europe.
Alpha Packaging also offers toolmaking, including high-cavity production tooling, as well as design and computer-aided-manufacturing systems.