Lehigh Valley Plastics Inc. is planning a $7.25 million expansion project that will consolidate all of its operations in Bethlehem Township, Pa., about three miles from its Allentown, Pa., headquarters.
``We felt that if we don't grow with our customer base, then we'll lose market share,'' President and Chief Executive Officer-Rick Larson said in a June 1 telephone interview.
Larson said Lehigh Valley currently has operations at four locations around Allentown and has worked with state and local authorities to find a suitable site for its new facility.
The company does fabrication, injection molding and machining.
Larson said Lehigh is purchasing a 50,000-square-foot building that it can refurbish for its use, and the location also offers room for another 50,000-60,000 square feet as needed. He said the plan is to have the building ready for production by the start of 2007.
``There is a twofold reason for the move. With four buildings, there is some inefficiency, and we're moving product back and forth,'' Larson said.
He added that the second reason is a lack of space at all four locations. The new area offers room for growth.
Lehigh Valley Plastics is getting ready to celebrate its 35th year in operation this fall. The company was purchased by private equity firm Libra Partners based in Morristown, N.J., in October 2005.
Founder Fred Ressler remains with the company as an adviser.
Larson said Lehigh Valley had $17 million in sales last year and is anticipating double-digit growth through 2009. It has more than 100 employees, and Larson said about 50 will be added in the next three years.
He said that the company is experiencing growth in all areas. He pointed to construction, medical and materials-handling industries as key markets.
The company received a boost May 31 from the local development authority, which voted to authorize $6.5 million in tax-exempt bonds to provide a low-interest loan.
Larson said that gaining government help with financing makes it easier to expand. The company also may add more machining equipment, according to Larson.