GLENVILLE — A food packaging manufacturer will spend $8 million to expand its facilities in the Glenville Business and Technology Park.
Specialty Quality Packaging expects to increase its payroll by 45 as a result of the expansion, Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office announced Tuesday.
SQP occupies a 120,000-square-foot building in the park. It will purchase an adjoining, similarly-sized building and renovate both into a single 240,000-square-foot facility.
SQP acquired the first building in 2006 from a company that was shutting down. At the same time, SQP hired 40 of the employees the other company had laid off. The packaging manufacturer has since grown to employ nearly 150.
It makes a range of paper goods for national restaurant chains and facilities such as schools and stadiums. All of its products are recyclable, and many are biodegradable or compostable, as well.
The $8 million project will benefit from up to $900,000 worth of Excelsior Jobs Program tax credits through Empire State Development, if SQP meets its job-creation projections.
Also, the Schenectady County Metroplex Development Authority granted a sales tax exemption for the expansion. How much that’s worth will depend on how much the materials cost. Metroplex Chairman Ray Gillen said materials typically run 30 to 40 percent of the total project cost.
Metroplex didn’t offer a property tax exemption, as it often provides for new construction, because the building already is on the property tax rolls, Gillen said.
SQP President Adam Epstein said he was very grateful for the help from the state and county, “really investing themselves in helping make sure we can compete in the marketplace — we’re certainly subject to import competition.”
The state and county also helped SQP in 2006, he added.
Asked how SQP tripled its workforce in a dozen years and grew to need twice as much space, Epstein credited cost control and leveraged relationships.
“We really understood manufacturing when we got here, and we’ve taken a very aggressive approach to capture [market share],” he said.
Finding the new employees SQP needs hasn’t always been easy over the past 12 years, a period that included a severe recession and then a rebound into a very tight labor market.
“Finding the quality employees has been a challenge, no question,” Epstein said. SQP has responded with constant advertising and by using local recruiters to find temp-to-hire workers for 60 to 90 days, which allows both the company and the employees to see if they like each other before the company commits to a long-term hire.
He would not provide a salary range for the new positions but said SQP has the full range of jobs, from entry-level to skilled.
“We certainly provide as much on-the-job training as needed,” he added.
Epstein prefers to keep some details about the operation private but said manufacturing proceeds around the clock, and the company each year turns out hundreds of millions of food trays, its main product.
Epstein said SQP will be able to use parts of the new building for storage, as the $8 million project is in progress. Target date for completion is six to nine months.
The company is headquartered in Glenville and has a second operation in California, plus some warehouse locations.
Gillen and other county leaders said SQP is a national company with a national market and could have expanded elsewhere.
Anthony Jasenski, chairman of the Schenectady County Legislature, said: “We are excited that SQP will continue to call the Glenville Business and Technology Park their home while adding manufacturing jobs in our community.”