Blow molder Alpha Packaging Inc. is investing $10 million to open a new facility in Jacksonville, Fla., and to add capacity at its three existing plants. The expansion means Alpha's manufacturing capacity will increase by more than 25 percent.
The St. Louis-based firm has leased a 120,000-square-foot plant in Jacksonville, the final frontier it sought to conquer in the U.S. market, President and Chief Executive Officer Dave Spence said in a Sept. 11 telephone interview.
``We have a lot of existing business in the South,'' Spence said, adding that Alpha had acquisition opportunities but none that made sense financially or strategically. Alpha built up its business until it made sense to open the facility.
``We've been thinking about the Southeast for five or six years. We think freight is going to become more and more of an issue.''
Alpha has begun renovating the plant, which will be fully operational in the first quarter of 2007.
The Jacksonville site will employ about 35 and primarily will serve customers in the health- and-beauty aid and pharmaceutical markets, Spence said. The plant will run seven PET blow molding machines, meeting demand for both narrow- and wide-mouth containers.
Alpha will purchase 16 machines in total, nine of which will find homes in its plants in St. Louis, Salt Lake City, and Bethlehem, Pa. The machines include one- and two-stage PET molding machines and injection blow molding machines for high density polyethylene.
Spence said the capacity will allow the company to deal with growth opportunities and to expand its range of stock product lines. In 2006 alone, Alpha launched 34 new containers.
By January, Alpha will be completely moved out of its blow molding facility in Brooklyn, N.Y. It moved six PET stretch blow molding and extrusion blow molding machines into the newly acquired site in Bethlehem, which it gained in its acquisition of Yorkbridge Packaging Northeast.