Recent Business Expansions & Investments
One of Chenango County’s biggest success stories, Agro-Farma, Inc. purchased the former Kraft plant in New Berlin, NY, and began manufacturing yogurt. Many former Kraft plant employees were kept on and rehired to work at Agro-Farma. This project included designation as an Empire Zone Regionally Significant Project, a CDBG application by the county on behalf of the project, and financing from the Business Assistance Loan Fund (BALF).
Before long, owner Hamdi Ulukaya began implementing plans to manufacture his own line of Greek yogurt called Chobani in the facility. The company has invested over $15 million in equipment and plant upgrades since 2005. The facility is now one of the most productive yogurt manufacturing plants in the entire nation, with 189,000 cases of yogurt being produced and sold per year. To date, over 200 permanent and temporary jobs have been created by the project in Chenango County. The market share of this segment is growing rapidly, and Chobani is well-positioned to take advantage of those opportunities.
Agro-Farma recently acquired the Procter & Gamble R & D facility in Norwich at Woods Corners. This 335,000 square foot, 88 acre “campus” will be home of Agro-Farma’s headquarters, and will eventually be developed for other uses as well. In August 2010, Agro-Farma held a groundbreaking ceremony for a new 150,000 square foot warehouse in S. Edmeston, across the street from their existing manufacturing facility. This warehouse will allow their Chobani yogurt to be stored locally, and will serve as the distribution hub for their entire operation. This project is expected to create at least 50 more new jobs.
The Raymond Corporation
Thanks to a partnership with Empire State Development, the New York State Office of Community Renewal, local municipalities, and The Raymond Corporation, our area was successful in assisting its largest employer in relocating the operations from a plant from Ontario to their Greene, NY facility. The project attracted grant dollars from Empire State Development and the CDBG Grant program, and these were leveraged heavily with private investments of the company.
The project was expected to create at least 50 new jobs, a majority of which are available or filled by low- and moderate- income residents of Chenango County. The project has already exceeded its expectations. We anticipate continuing to work with The Raymond Corporation in the coming months to ensure that they have the resources they need to continue growing and investing in Chenango County.
The Mid-York Press, Inc. Expansion
In 2008, The Mid-York Press, Inc., in Sherburne, NY, invested $3.5 million in a new press that would make them one of the most competitive carton packaging printers in the industry. IDA bonds were able to help the company save thousands taxes, and the project was proposed to create seven new jobs.
In 2009, The Mid-York Press announced another major project, investing another $3.5 million in new equipment, as well as the renovation of a nearby building to house their digital presses. This project is expected to create another three jobs.
Golden Artist Colors, Inc.
In 2007, Golden Artist Colors approached the CCIDA for assistance in applying for a grant from Empire State Development to install a reverse osmosis water treatment/recycling system at their New Berlin facility. The application was successful, and the grant was matched with private funds from the company.
Boynton Studios, Inc. Moves to Norwich
In 2008, Commerce Chenango was approached by Timothy Rendo, the owner of Boynton Studios, Inc., who was considering moving the company’s headquarters to the former Sears location in the Town of Norwich. Boynton Studios is a national distributor of fine audio equipment and musical instruments for the music industry.
The Development Chenango Corporation was able to help move the project forward by participating with local banks to finance the property acquisition. The project included moving 12 high paying jobs to Chenango County, and with six additional positions projected to be created within three years. In October 2008 the project was financed, and the new location was fully renovated and open for business in time for the holiday shopping season.
Standard Printed Circuits, Inc. Expansion
Commerce Chenango was approached in early 2009 by Standard Printed Circuits, Inc., a manufacturer of single and double-sided printed circuit boards in the Village of Sherburne. The business had 22 employees, and had plans to purchase new equipment that would enable them to become military certified. The project proposed to create nine new FTE positions. At the time, no other companies within the United States manufactured these particular parts for military operations.
The company is working towards becoming ISO 9002. Additionally, another phase of the project is slated within the next five years, which will require additional investment of over $500,000. The project will allow for additional sales upwards of $1,000,000 annually. Financing for this project was accomplished through a partnership between the Chenango County RLF for manufacturing operations, and financing from the Village of Sherburne RLF.
Earl B. Clark Business Park Development
In the 1990’s, Procter & Gamble donated over 45 acres of land to the County of Chenango Industrial Development Agency, adjacent to their North Norwich plant. Over the years, work has been done to tear down buildings that have exceeded their useful life.
Recent improvements to the property include the removal of old debris and foundations. The remaining three buildings were demolished and removed in December 2009. Additionally, the CCIDA is investigating the costs associated with road redevelopment in the park, to allow for pass through access for trucks to and from Route 12. The CCIDA is open to considering any proposals to develop the park.
In 2007, the Chenango County Industrial Development Agency was approached by Les Wagner, owner of Wagner Lumber, who indicated his intent to purchase the Pomeroy Lumber facility in the Town of Afton. Pomeroy Lumber had been hard hit by the floods of 2006, and the business was in danger of closing and losing the 27 jobs on premises. Wagner Lumber had already provided significant assistance to the business, as they had a working relationship.
With the extension of a Payment in Lieu of Tax Agreement from the CCIDA, the new business, Wagner Nineveh, Inc., was able to reduce their annual operating costs and make the project more viable. The project promised to retain 27 and create 9 jobs, and project benchmarks were met early on. Today, the business employs over 38 individuals.
Recent Community Investments
DCMO BOCES Campus Expansion Project
In the summer of 2008, a $49 million renovation and construction project that was first proposed in 2005 was completed. The project included work at both the Norwich and the Masonville BOCES campuses, and much of the work planned was intended to continue expanding the skills of the Chenango County workforce.
At the Chenango Campus in Norwich, a new 108,000 square foot building was constructed to house alternative and special education students, with 20 new classrooms, 10 offices, counselors’ office, mechanical room, storage, conference rooms, and therapy space. Another addition included a gym, aerobic room, weight room, and a new culinary arts and bakery classroom. Project work also included new science labs, a library-media center, a new nurses’ office, a renovated dining area, and much more.
The Parks Project, Downtown Norwich
In March of 2004 the BID joined forces with numerous individuals interested in the historic renovation of Norwich's East and West Side Parks to form a group called "Friends of the Park". In 2006 the group expanded to include an Advisory Board to assist with fundraising and community support.
The goal of Friends of the Park has been to enhance the safety, charm, function and character of the parks and to provide a distinctive sense of place for current and future public events that will contribute to the social and economic vitality of Norwich and the surrounding communities. With funding from primarily private sources and the assistance of many local contractors, implementation of the project is expected in 2010.
Route 12 Improvements
An area of constant concern for businesses, residents, and economic development partners is the state of Route 12. Several improvements have been made in the last two years with cooperation between NYS DOT and Federal representatives, who have supported the project with Federal earmarks.
Much more work remains to be done, and the Route 12 Task Force meets several times per year to discuss the studies that have been conducted and the options that show the most promise. Commerce Chenango coordinates these meetings and advocates for improvements that benefit Chenango County’s businesses to which Route 12 access, and traffic flow, are crucial.
Main Street Grant Program - Norwich Business Improvement District (BID)
Since 2006 the Norwich BID, in conjunction with the City of Norwich and Shelter Planning has assisted 17 property owners within the BID District with $400,000 in Main Street funds to assist with façade and building renovations. This matching grant program resulted in a combined investment of over $1 million dollars to these properties, all located within the 12 block BID District in downtown Norwich.