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Ridgeway agrees to seek grant, hoping to sway company with $10M project

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 17 March 2015 at 12:00 am

RIDGEWAY – The Town Board agreed to seek a $750,000 grant from the state to help sway a Canadian company to commit to a $10 million project at the former BernzOmatic site, which was vacated last July by Worthington Cylinders.

Pride Pak Canada Ltd. in Ontario, Canada, proposes to establish a new vegetable processing, packaging and distribution facility in the former BernzOmatic property located at 1 BernzOmatic Drive.

The company wants to expand its operations and better serve a large northeastern US grocery chain, said Gabrielle Barone, vice president of business development for the Orleans Economic Development Agency.

Pride Pak, formed in 1983, is Ontario’s largest fruit and vegetable processing company. Barone told Ridgeway officials that the company currently exports approximately 50 percent of its product to the U.S. market.

Pride Pak wants to purchase the BernzOmatic property – a 180,000-square-foot facility with 30-plus acres of land. The company will do substantial renovations to the existing plant and purchase new machinery equipment at a total initial project cost of $9.6 million, Barone said. Additional capital expenditures are planned for future phases of the project in years 2 through 5.

It’s not a done deal because the company is considering another site in Pennsylvania. The incentive packages will be part of the company’s decision.

“So while we are cautiously optimistic, we also need to be realistic – the project principals are weighing options being presented by New York State and Pennsylvania,” Barone said at a public hearing on Monday.

Pride Pak expects to create up to 80 new permanent full-time positions by the end of year one. The state Office of Community Renewal grant of $750,000 will assist Pride Pak U.S. affiliate in the acquisition and installation of new machinery and equipment.

By year five, the company could have up to 200 workers at its U.S. site, Barone said.