The Catalucci family once again is back on the local plastics scene in Leominster, opening Phoenix Plastics Inc.
Two brothers and a sister have leased 100,000 square feet of the former Aero Plastics Inc. plant, and they are turning out wheels, combs and hangers as part of the company's growing custom injection molding business.
They also are working on a new line of premium picture frames made of plastic blended with sawdust to give them a wood look.
Randy Catalucci, sales representative for Phoenix, said his family members live in houses on the same street in a town near Lancaster, and they were ready to work together in the plastics industry. He said his sister Lori Dery is the owner, while brother Jay is the plant manager.
``We've been talking about it for so long. Now we are back together,'' said Randy Catalucci.
Jay Catalucci said the company formed in December and began molding with two machines in March.
Phoenix now is running seven NPM presses, which are made by Plastic Metal SpA of Vincenza, Italy. The company plans to add eight presses in the next 12 months.
Phoenix is making commodity items, but Catalucci is not worried about the competition. He said, ``There are still plenty of opportunities - you just have to find them. There's enough work out there to keep busy.''
Their grandfather, Joseph Catalucci, came from Italy in 1928 and learned his trade at the old Foster Grant Co., and later at Commonwealth Plastics Co. His son, Herman, continued the tradition, starting Wachusett Button. That firm closed in 1972.
He also owned other local companies, including Ken-Lok Plastics, which closed about 12 years ago.
Now, the daughter and sons of Herman and Roberta Catalucci are continuing a tradition.
``When you're born in Leominster, there's plastic in your blood,'' said Randy Catalucci.