Quebec-based Plastitel Plastics is the first tenant at Northstar Technology Center, the former Pfizer facility in the Town of Chazy.
On Wednesday, Plastitel Plastics President Normand Lucier thanked Stephen and Victor Podd, the owners of the Northstar Technology Center, for providing an excellent facility for the company to open its first U.S. manufacturing plant.
Lucier said Nova Bus/Prevost in Quebec and Plattsburgh are among their clients, so their first U.S. manufacturing plant locates them closer to the companies’ Banker Road facility.
“We thank the Volvo Group North America for the opportunity to grow with them here in the United States,” he said.
The company specializes in thermoplastic manufacturing. That involves heating a sheet of plastic, which is then placed over a mold and vacuum-formed to that shape.
The facility has everything they sought as they looked for U.S. sites, Lucier said, including first-class infrastructure and proximity to Interstate 87 and to their plants in Laval and Chateaugay in Quebec.
Plastitel Plastics leased 15,000 square feet and started its manufacturing there with one plant manager and three employees.
Lucier said they plan to have 13 employees by the end of this year and 25 by the end of 2016.
Lucier founded the company 29 years ago, and it has about 100 employees at its three locations.
He said 60 percent of their business in Quebec involves export to clients such as Stryker Medical in Michigan and Johnson and Johnson in California.
North Country Chamber of Commerce President Garry Douglas said the announcement marks the initial success in the return of employment to the former Pfizer property.
He credited a collaborative effort to preserve the facility after Pfizer stopped operations there in 2009.
Pfizer took the high road to allow the search for a new owner to come to fruition. The Clinton County Legislature and County of Clinton IDA then took over the property to continue that process and received assistance in the form of a $1.2 million grant from Empire State Development to maintain the site.
“With all of those partners working collaboratively, we found a (North) star,” Douglas said.
That came in the form of local businessmen Stephen and Victor, who formed Northstar LLC to purchase the 386,000-square-foot facility in 2013.
Douglas said their father, Victor Podd, was part of the first wave of Canadian investment in North Country manufacturing when he moved Powertex to Rouses Point in 1983, and now this second generation continues that tradition.
Thanks to that effort, “life and employment is coming back to the Pfizer facility in Chazy,” he said.
Stephen Podd thanked all of those who have helped make this first tenant possible. That includes the region’s state representatives, as well as the local municipal authorities and economic development partners
On the state side, initiatives such as StartUp NY and the Excelsior Jobs program have helped attract prospects.
The latter provided $100,000 in tax credits that encouraged Plastitel to invest $305,000 in their new location, which includes new machinery and renovations.
“That has helped bring companies to look at this facility,” Podd said.