Reliance Packaging LLC expects to grow significantly during the next three years, both in production of heavy-duty plastic bags for the lawn and garden market and the amount of employees needed to make those bags.
The Aberdeen, N.C.-based operation is a joint venture and part of Sigma Plastics Group that expects to invest $3.5 million in the expansion effort.
Reliance relocated to Aberdeen from Florida late last year and started operations at the former Southern Film Extruders site on a limited basis, according to Reliance Chief Operating Officer Satish Sharma.
Now the firm is moving ahead with plans to dramatically increase production of bags using low and linear low density polyethylene.
“We're committed to pushing forward and looking forward to hiring new people,” Sharma said.
With 12 employees currently, Reliance expects to add 48 jobs during the next three years.
Production is expected to increase to 10 million to 15 million pounds of bags per year at the site that was dormant since 2008.
“We're excited about the growth and the opportunity, and feel we've got a good team of people with us and look forward to expanding to new horizons,” Sharma said.
“We had operations in Florida, and the Sigma group, of course, has multiple locations all over the country. So we're bringing in equipment from some other plants and buying some new equipment as well,” Sharma said.
“We wanted a central location and we found that we had a great location and we had a lot of support from Moore County, N.C., and the town of Aberdeen,” he said.
The expansion project qualified for performance-based grant of up to $52,000 from the One North Carolina Fund, a state economic development program. There also are local incentives Sharma said he was not at liberty to divulge.
Sigma took ownership of the shuttered Aberdeen site as part of its 2013 purchase of Southern Film Extruders, a polyethylene film manufacturer that had filed for bankruptcy protection.
Reliance, Sharma said, will focus predominately on “heavy duty sacks and bags, and in the beginning we're focusing on the lawn and garden market for products such as mulch bags, soil bags, fertilizer bags, decorative lawn rocks. But we will expand that down the road to other kinds of heavy duty bags,” he said.
Reliance also looked at sites in South Carolina and Florida before deciding on Aberdeen.
“We can operate very efficiently in North Carolina. Our facility is on 8 acres, so we have room to expand. It's serviced by rail. We have a lot of power and resources. There were a lot of decisions that went into selecting this site,” Sharma said.
Reliance will extrude and print plastic film on site. Customers will either buy the printed film on rolls or Reliance will make open-mouth bags for shipment in truckload quantities, he said.