A Western New York flexible packaging maker is adding space to allow for more production and an increase in employment through a $2.3 million project.
Bison Bag Co. Inc. plans to construct 41,000 square feet of new warehouse that will free up square footage in the company's existing building in Lockport to allow for additional production equipment, according to one local economic development official familiar with the project.
The expansion is expected to create eight to 10 new jobs.
A separate 2,500-square-foot building also is being built to house compressors needed at the facility, said Thomas Sy, economic development coordinator for the Town of Lockport.
"One of the main reasons for the warehouse was to get them some added production space. I know they are adding three machines," he said. "So some of those eight to 10 jobs will be on those three new machines. But I'm sure there's a couple of warehouse jobs as well."
Bison Bag did not return a phone call seeking comment. The company has experienced steady growth over the years, including a series of expansions, Sy said.
Bison Bag has been in business for more than 50 years, including almost a quarter century at its current location in the Lockport Industrial Park. That park also includes a facility owned by materials supplier Avient Corp.
"This is probably at least the third expansion since they've been in our industrial park," Sy said about Bison Bag, including a 2014 project that received incentives including property, sales and mortgage recording tax relief.
This time around, the company will not have to pay sales tax on up to $2 million worth of building material and building equipment used for the project. At an 8 percent sales tax rate, the total benefit could reach $160,000, Sy explained. "In this case, we only did a sales tax only exemption."
The exemption includes both state and local sales tax, but the exemption approval process is handled at the local level. The development agency historically has limited sales tax exemptions to $2 million regardless of a project's size, Sy said.
"They moved into the park way back in '97 and they really have done nothing but controlled expansion since them. Their current employment count is around 90, which is an excellent number for us. Certainly above whatever obligations they had," Sy said, to create jobs to receive past incentives.
"Bison Bag has not only met those, but exceed those targets. So beyond their longevity, beyond their continued growth path, certainly those 90 jobs are valuable to the Town of Lockport, for sure," he said.
The Town of Lockport is a local government that surrounds the City of Lockport, about 30 miles north of Buffalo. Towns in New York are similar to townships in other states.
Bison Bag makes plastic roll stock, pouches and bags for a variety of end markets, including food — both for humans and their pets — as well as industrial, health care and sporting goods markets.