Tessy Plastics Corp. is investing $31 million to nearly double the space of its factory in Van Buren, N.Y., as the custom injection molder brings molding and assembly of its underarm deodorant packaging and other consumer products into a central location.
In an announcement made July 20, New York Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul said the state will award Tessy a $10 million grant and $3.5 million in tax credits. South Carolina had courted Tessy to be closer to major consumer products customers down there, she said.
Tessy is a major presence in upstate New York, where it employs 1,000. The expansion should add about 50 people initially, with another 50 after it begins full production.
“This has been in the works for a long time, and we've already had the jobs we need, but we'll continue to grow,” Tessy President Roland Beck said.
Beck said the company had been molding deodorant stick components at its headquarters operation in Elbridge, N.Y., then shipping them about 20 miles away to the Van Buren plant for assembly. The expansion will accommodate the new molding operation. “We also needed room for additional work that we got,” he said.
Beck said the assembly is highly automated, as parts feed through bowl feeders and get put together at the rate of 400 a minute. “They crank,” he said.
Beck said crews are putting up steel for the 250,000-square-foot addition, which should be completed in March. The existing manufacturing operation measures 270,000 square feet.
Beck confirmed that the both North and South Carolina made a pitch for Tessy to open a factory there. A report in the Syracuse, N.Y., Post-Standard said Tessy needed state help in New York to make up for the cost of shipping 3,000 truckloads of the deodorant containers a year to the Carolinas.
But Roland Beck — who grew up in the area and whose father, Henry Beck, co-founded Tessy in 1973 — decided to keep the expansion in his home area. Henry Beck attended the July 20 announcement.
“I wanted to stay because of all the contractors and suppliers we use here in upstate New York,” Roland Beck said. “I like this area. I like the people in this area. We've had really good luck attracting people here.”
Tessy did seriously consider offers to relocate. “Absolutely. They were great, great people. We got a great offer and it was close to the customer,” he said.
Beck said Tessy has already bought 16 injection presses, with four more machines on order — new presses with up to 550 tons in clamping force in a range of brands such as Husky, BMB and Sumitomo. The consumer product operation does some high-speed rotating cube molding and uses some other special technology, he said.
Moving the molding work in with assembly in Van Buren also will free up space in the Elbridge headquarters factory for more medical molding and assembly work, a growing part of Tessy's business. In 2014, Tessy acquired a building in nearly Skaneateles, N.Y., near Elbridge, to house medical operations.
Tessy bought the Van Buren plant, which had been a warehouse for Syroco outdoor furniture, in 2010. Tessy did not purchase the old adjacent Syroco molding plant, which Beck said is still vacant.
Tessy has been renting warehouse space to house growing production of consumer products, he said.
Tessy, with estimated sales of $255 million, is the No. 31 on the Plastics News ranking of injection molders in North America. Tessy won Plastics News' Processor of the Year Award in 2000.