Orleans EDA looks to build on strong 2014

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 27 February 2015 at 12:00 am

Companies invested $30M-plus, added 108 jobs

File photos by Tom Rivers – A 48,000-square-foot addition takes shape at Brunner International in this photo from September.

ALBION – Last year was a big year for the Orleans Economic Development Agency with three companies collectively investing $32 million in expansion projects and committing to 108 new jobs.

This year looks even more promising, said Jim Whipple, Orleans EDA chief executive officer. Whipple told county legislators this week that the job creation numbers could top 2014’s “by six or seven times.”

He expects state officials to soon make announcements about two big job creation efforts in the county.

He outlined the highlights from 2014 with legislators on Wednesday. Those EDA projects include a $14.5 million expansion at Brunner International in Medina. Brunner produces components for heavy-duty trucks and trailers. It constructed a 48,000-square-foot addition with new equipment.

Brunner is keeping 363 existing jobs in the community and adding 33 more as part of the expansion at the corner of Bates Road and Route 31.

Intergrow Greenhouses built 7.5 acres more of greenhouses in a $14.5 million company investment that added 15 jobs.

The company has grown to 55.5 acres of greenhouses since its first 15-acre greenhouse in the Town of Gaines in 2003. Intergrow now has 100 employees at the site.

Claims Recovery Financial Services in Albion also increased its workforce by 60 people last year as part of a continued expansion at the former Chase building on East Avenue. CRFS now has about 600 workers at the Albion location.

Intergrow Greenhouses started another big expansion last year at 2428 Oak Orchard Rd. in Gaines.

It spent $2,660,000 as part of the expansion in 2014, according to the Orleans EDA.

Several projects are expected in 2015, Whipple said, including a new hotel in Medina at a $4 million company investment that will add four new jobs.

Helena Chemical also is expected to invest about $2 million in a new complex in Ridgeway, moving from a site in the Village of Albion.

Whipple didn’t detail two large projects that could be announced very soon. He said Precision Packaging Products in Holley also is working on a vertical integration project, while Snappy/Acme is looking at a project in Medina.

In addition, Apex Clean Energy would like to build 60 to 68 wind turbines Yates and Somerset, structures that could tower nearly 600 feet in the two rural lakeshore towns.

The Orleans EDA has stepped up its marketing efforts by hiring Mindful Media Group to develop a new website, push social media and also send news releases to American and Canadian markets.

The economic development agency also secured a $34,000 document storage grant to scan in documents from the past four decades. The EDA also is seeking a $200,000 EPA brownfield assessments grant to identify sites in the county that may be contaminated and need remediation.