Blow molder Meredith Springfield Associates Inc.'s work within the community is earning it plaudits and at the same time is helping it to grow its business.
The firm was cited Oct. 25 as the Exemplary Business Partner of the Year by Sunshine Village of Chicopee, Mass., a nonprofit group that works with people with developmental disabilities.
The arrangement has worked well, according to Mel O'Leary, Meredith Springfield president and chief executive officer.
``They do assembly, boxing, labeling and palletizing. The scope of the operation allows us to add value for the customer at a rate that we can afford. Otherwise, it might have been work we wouldn't have been able to do,'' O'Leary said.
``We've never had one quality control problem - that's with hundreds of thousands of parts processed,'' he said.
The arrangement has been in place a year, according to Colleen Baker, director of employment services at Sunshine Village. She noted that the organization's work center keeps about 35 people employed doing fulfillment work for different companies.
``Meredith Springfield has been wonderful to work with. They are right down the street and their personnel come in regularly and supply us with work on a regular basis,'' she said.
Meredith Springfield employs 80. The 23-year-old company has experienced steady growth, and expects sales to rise 7-8 percent this year.
The company specializes in custom plastic bottles and hollow technical articles. It makes food packaging, household and industrial chemical containers, and hollow items for the medical market, business machines, footwear and PVC fencing.
O'Leary said the company occupies 35,000 square feet of a 90,000-square-foot building, but plans to exercise an option to buy the rest of the building.
The firm also employs prisoners from the Hampden County, Mass., sheriff's office - pre-released prisoners from a jail about two miles in the opposite direction of Sunshine Village. In fact, Meredith Springfield was honored by the sheriff's office last year as its pre-release employer of the year.
O'Leary said that program also has been a success, with 30 ex-prisoners having worked at the company.
``Between the Sunshine Village experience and the partnership with the jail, they are just two things Meredith Springfield does to put something back in the community.
``It's been a very worthwhile way to help the community,'' he said.