Blow molder Cortland Plastics International LLC seems unaware that the economy is in a recession.
The Cortland, N.Y.-based firm bought a container-filling business in Syracuse, N.Y., late last year, has made several recent machinery purchases and is on the lookout for a new location in Cortland.
``If you're good at what you do and have good service you can do well, even in times like this,'' co-owner and plant manager David Kievit said in a Jan. 15 phone interview.
In late 2008, Cortland Plastics co-owner Patrick Dessein and other investors bought Benbow Chemical Inc. of Syracuse for an undisclosed price. Benbow soon was renamed Syracuse Packaging International LLC. The business employs 25 and runs a mixing and filling operation for industrial packaging, pool chemicals, and lawn and garden supplies at a 175,000-square-foot location.
Since buying the business, the new owners have added five new liquid-fill lines and two new dry-fill lines to the site. Ten of the 25 jobs have been added in that brief time as well. Kievit said the firm plans to add 15 more jobs at Syracuse Packaging by the end of 2009 and another 20 in 2010. Existing Benbow management including general manager Anthony Colella has been retained at Syracuse Packaging.
Kievit said several Cortland Plastics customers had been urging the firm to enter filling and packaging since it opened its doors in January 2007. Prior to the deal, Cortland Plastics had been one of Benbow's bottle suppliers. Cortland Plastics uses PET, polypropylene and high density polyethylene to make bottles ranging in size from less than an ounce to 1 gallon. The firm employs 30 and operates seven continuous extrusion blow molding machines in a 25,000-square-foot leased space.
But Cortland Plastics soon could be on the move to another location in Cortland, which is about 30 miles south of Syracuse. Kievit said the firm might construct a 60,000-square-foot building or buy an existing 50,000-square-foot site. The company also plans to install two more continuous extrusion machines in the second half of 2009.
``We've grown according to plan, and there's also been some luck involved,'' Kievit said. ``A lot of our customers aren't seasonal in nature, and they don't have a lot of Asian competition. They're in niches where they've prospered. We're also not involved in the auto market.''
Cortland Plastics also has focused on customers within a 300-mile radius of its production site. The machinery investment at Syracuse Packaging totaled about $2 million, while the combined cost of new blow molding machinery and a new site should be between $2 million and $3 million, Kievit said.
Major markets at Cortland Plastics, which had sales of $9 million in 2008, include pharmaceuticals; personal care; containers for food such as syrup, and hotel products such as shampoo, conditioner, gels and lotion.