Pearl Leather to expand, add 40 jobs

Pearl Leather Finishers plans to add as many as 40 additional workers who will cut high-quality leat

Pearl Leather Finishers plans to add as many as 40 additional workers who will cut high-quality leather for the automotive industry.

Pearl has two plants on Industrial Parkway, a finishing plant that employs 130 and the cutting plant that employs 40.

Pearl’s John Ruggiero said Tuesday that the company makes seat leather for Lincoln and General Motors vehicles and is picking up three new lines of product for Ford Mustang, Taurus and Flex.

The company turns out leather for 250,000 car seats a year for many different automakers but needs more capacity to remain competitive, he said.

“In order to do it we have to put in more cutting machines and more perforation machines,” he told members of the city Planning Board.

Pearl recently upgraded from digital cutting machines to die cutters. The car manufacturers have standards of a 2-mm-margin for error, and the digital machines were having some problems meeting them.

Engineer Charlie Ackerbauer said the addition would be 15,000 square feet and similar to the building itself, with cinderblock walls and a truss roof.

There would be two loading docks and an overhead door to access the building.

And, he said, it would be a dry operation, meaning there would be no chemical treatment, tanning or finishing.

“It’s good for the city, employing more people, which we need here,” Ruggiero said.

Councilwoman Kay Cole, the liaison to the Planning Board, agreed.

“I think it’s very good news,” she said after the meeting.

“It’s a clean operation and hopefully will employ a lot more people. And it must be a nice feather in his cap to get the car companies he mentioned,” she said.

The Planning Board agreed to apply to become the lead agency for the environmental review and the plans for the addition could be approved at the board’s May 6 meeting.

The Planning Board also agreed to apply to become the lead agency for the environmental review of a revised site plan for Fage USA, the Greek dairy company building a yogurt plant in the Johnstown Industrial Park.

The revised plans call for the addition of as many as six additional silos for raw-milk storage.

Sam Bennett of Cough, Harbour and Associates said the company is planning on increasing production sooner than expected, hence the need for additional milk storage.

There are four silos there now; Fage wants permission to add four more, and possibly six more.

The company’s site plan was originally approved in 2004. And a revised plan for a much bigger plant was approved in 2006. Production is expected to start in a couple of weeks.

City Engineer Chad Kortz said the city needs to supplement the 2004 environmental review. Final approval could be granted at the May 6 meeting.

“I don’t necessarily foresee any pitfalls,” Kortz said.

Categories: Schenectady County

Leave a Reply