Canadian processor Gracious Living Corp. has entered the U.S. market by acquiring an injection molding plant in Morgantown, Ky., from Stratus Plastics International Inc.
Officials with GL in Vaughan, Ontario, said that their firm's expansion into the U.S. "continues the company's steady growth." The 160,000-square-foot plant is on a 12-acre lot and is about 60 miles north of the Nashville, Tenn., metro area.
Stratus Plastics opened the Morgantown plant in 2017 and announced a major expansion there in 2021. Charles Kida, finance vice president for GL, told Plastics News in a phone interview that Stratus completed some parts of the announced expansion, but also struggled with the new location, which led to the plant being sold to GL.
"This was an opportunity that we came across," Kida said. "It will help us because there are some challenges in shipping from Canada."
The plant serves the automotive market and is equipped with large tonnage molding machines of up to 3,000 tons. Officials said plans are in development to upgrade the site and add equipment to support automotive growth.
The expansion will include the creation of 150 full-time jobs. Officials said that Kentucky "is an ideal location for the company's U.S. expansion."
"Our new facility in Kentucky is an exciting new chapter in our history, driving our long-term growth and bringing Gracious Living products to new markets and customers," GL founder and President Enzo Macri said. Founder and Executive Vice President Vito Galloro added that the acquisition "is a key component of our U.S. expansion strategy and product diversifications plans."
Windsor, Ontario-based Stratus opened the Morgantown plant in 2017 with large tonnage presses and investment of $4 million. Company officials said at the time that automotive molding would be the plant's main business. Stratus's main customers at the time included Tier 1 firms like Magna International Inc., A.J. Simpson and Flex-N-Gate.
In 2021, Stratus announced an $8 million project to purchase new silos, cranes and machines for the site. That expansion was expected to create 40 new jobs at the plant, which employed 45 at the time. Officials said the expansion was needed to meet supply line demand from a major automotive manufacturer in the area.
GL now will upgrade the cooling system at the Morgantown plant, and plans to install a new crane, additional silos and new tooling and injection molding machines.
"We're excited about it and hope to reap the benefits in the next couple of years," Kida said.
Kida declined to provide a sale price for the plant or financial data about GL. Privately held GL opened in 1989 and now operates more than 135 injection molding and profile extrusion machines at plants in Woodbridge and Mississauga, Ontario. Those plants are vertically integrated with recycling and compounding capabilities and an ISO 17000 compliant lab.
Major markets for GL are plastic patio furniture, resin shelving and housewares items sold to major retailers across North America. The firm also provides contract customers with product development, assemblies, warehousing and distribution.