From Egypt to Eden, NY – TexWeb’s  “Made in USA” Label is a Win

Hany Tadrous, business development director and Ehab Tadrous, Owner at their new TexWeb facility in Eden, NY

Hany Tadrous, business development director and Ehab Tadrous, owner at their new TexWeb facility in Eden, NY

When Buffalo Niagara Enterprise declares a project a regional “win,” our relationship with the company does not end there.  The BNE team continues to be a partner and resource to that new operation as it grows from the “big idea” phase to reality.  A good example is the Egyptian-based company, Petrolift, which came to BNE in 2013 with an interest in establishing a location that would enable them to produce “Made in USA” products.  Petrolift is a successful manufacturer of web slings and lifts for industrial applications in the oil & gas industry.  They are ISO 9001 certified and are a member of the Lifting Equipment Engineers Association (LEEA), the Webbing Sling & Tie Down Association (WSTDA); among other accreditations.  In considering potential U.S. locations, the company began exploring Buffalo Niagara due to our geographic proximity to Canada.

In 2014, after a successfully identifying the ideal WNY real estate and an incentive offer from Empire State Development, Petrolift began working on its U.S. operation, which they named TexWeb.  Work soon began on renovating an old furniture factory in Eden, NY and specialized weaving equipment from Germany was ordered.  To date, TexWeb has invested well over one million dollars to set up the facility and start production.

BNE was pleased to have the opportunity to tour the entirely renovated facility and watch the new weaving and finishing machines in action.  Each machine can continuously weave many strands of nylon and polyester to produce various widths of narrow fabric.  These tightly woven fabric straps are then heat-treated to add additional strength, and dyed in order to color-code and identify the maximum tonnage it can lift.  By completing this process, the narrow fabric is converted into lifting material (webbing) used in the production of various products.   TexWeb produces a web sling that can carry up to six tons, with higher strengths to be accommodated within 3 months’ time.  All of their products are tested and certified using their in-house testing machine in accordance with the WSTDA accreditation.

And they are growing jobs.  TexWeb has hired six employees in the short time they have been in operation, and will be adding another six people to their workforce before the end of the year.

by Lorrie Abounader, Business Development Manager

Fichman Furniture Living the American Dream in WNY

Fichman

Sometimes a simple email can make your day.  This happened to me recently when I checked in with a business owner who BNE helped in establishing their first US manufacturing facility.  While I knew the company was doing well, the owner was so exuberant that it really brought a smile to my face and also demonstrated so clearly why the work we do is so important.

Toronto-based Fichman Furniture began working with BNE in 2009, seeking to bring their business to the US.  After assisting with site selection, cross-border due diligence and workforce development, in 2012 the company purchased an 8,000 square foot facility in Holland, New York.

The company designs and manufactures radiator covers, and 95% of its sales are in the US.  The new facility was selected to reduce shipping costs for both raw materials as well as finished goods, without the delays associated with cross-border logistics. And three years later, Erran Fichman, the company’s owner, reports that sales have DOUBLED since the move while shipping costs have been cut in HALF!

While labor costs are about the same, Fichman says in Western New York “you get far higher quality and value.”  He has six full-time employees and hopes to add additional workers in the future and says now he “can really focus on projects that will continue to grow the business.”  Thanks to improvements in technology and machinery, the facility is more productive while maintaining the highest safety standards.  “We never achieved this level of quality and we produce our covers in less than half the time it would take in Toronto,” he added.

Fichman has nothing but good things to say about his experience dealing with WNY officials and businesses, from the local Post Office to his M&T Bank branch in East Aurora, Holland’s town hall to local law enforcement.  The adjectives used were “straightforward, professional and reliable.”  What a testimonial!

BNE is privileged to promote Western New York’s business-friendly attributes on a daily basis. Fichman Furniture’s success story beautifully illustrates that our region has all the right stuff for businesses that are seeking to expand in the US.

by Carolyn Powell, Business Development Manager

New York State Tax Reform Benefits Manufacturers

International companies that expand into the U.S. often apply for and receive major tax incentives.  But what if the tax law were amended to create a significant incentive across the board, without companies even having to apply?  Well, that is exactly what New York State has done.

On March 31, 2014 New York State enacted significant changes to reform its corporation tax laws, most of which took effect January 1, 2015.   Many of the changes are aimed at simplifying an overly complex system of taxation and include the elimination of some taxes and revisions to the tax bases.    Included in the corporate tax reform are changes that will greatly benefit qualifying New York State manufacturers by reducing the income tax rate to 0% and creating a 20% real property tax credit.

To qualify, a manufacturer must have property in New York that is principally used by the taxpayer in the production of goods by manufacturing, processing, assembling, refining, mining, extracting, farming, agriculture, horticulture, floriculture, viticulture or commercial fishing and during the tax year more than 50% of its gross receipts are derived from the sales of goods produced by these activities.

To be eligible for the zero percent tax rate the manufacturer must have either:

1) property located in New York with an adjusted basis for federal income tax purposes at the close of the taxable year of at least $1 million; or

2) all of its real and personal property is located in New York.

The zero percent tax rate applies to the business income tax base and is only available for qualified manufacturing corporations taxed under Article 9-A, franchise tax on business corporations.

The real property tax credit for qualified manufacturers is a credit equal to 20% of real property taxes paid during a tax year for real property located in New York and principally used in manufacturing.  The property can be owned or leased by the taxpayer.  Leased property must be leased from an unrelated third party.  The lease must be in writing and require the lessee to pay the real property taxes. The lessee must make the real property tax payment directly to the taxing authority.

For those that are not qualified manufacturers, the tax rate on business income will be reduced from 7.1% to 6.5% beginning January 1, 2016.

The legislation is a huge step forward for encouraging businesses to expand and grow in New York and it doesn’t stop there.  New York offers a number of attractive incentive programs available at the state and local levels to help businesses locate and grow here.  Additionally, there is no sales tax on machinery, equipment, tools or supplies used in manufacturing and New York State does not have a personal property tax on inventories, machinery and equipment either.  

 

Guest blog: Andrew J. Toth, CPA, Partner at Tronconi Segarra & Associates, LLP, atoth@tsacpa.com ,(716) 633-1373

Canadian Company’s American Plant Awarded for Sustainability Success in Buffalo

Avanti

In 2011, Avanti Advanced Manufacturing opened its first US location in Buffalo, specializing in custom fabrication and plastic injection molding.  They currently have seven full-time employees and plan to double their employment in the next year. This year, Avanti was named a winner in Business First’s Manufacturing Awards in the Sustainability Category.  These prestigious awards are presented to companies in the manufacturing industry that are a major economic force in the region.

Avanti has found US success in a variety of ways and by growing their business slowly.  The company purchased a reasonably priced building and made the needed improvements to it, all while developing and strengthening relationships with neighboring residents and working with local organizations such as churches to recruit employees.  Avanti’s owner and president, Jim Wei, has found that the local residents and members of these congregations have a willingness to learn and a great work ethic, and he provides training on his specialized equipment.

Wei has developed a system to use the outside air to cool Avanti’s machines and save on power costs.  He continually looks for ways to improve efficiency within his operations so that he can then increase manpower and quantity of products manufactured.

One of the products Avanti designs and manufactures is a tile for the building construction industry that is made from recycled materials, allowing the building to claim LEED credits during the construction process.  The tiles are sourced approximately 30 miles from the facility, which qualifies them as a local supplier and meets the requirements for LEED credits.  Another sustainable Avanti product is Ecoglo, which is a no-slip and natural glow-in-the-dark strip for stairs and sidewalks.  These strips have been installed locally at the front entrance of The Mansion on Delaware as well as many high-profile buildings across the country.

The BNE team offers our congratulations to Jim Wei and the employees of Avanti Advanced Manufacturing Corp on your success in Buffalo, NY and your well-deserved award.

by Carolyn Powell, Business Development Manager

Koike Aronson Thinks and Builds Big in Wyoming County

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I recently had the opportunity to tour Koike Aronson–a manufacturer of high quality metal cutting, welding and positioning equipment. They make the equipment that builds some of the world’s most critical and enduring products. Koike’s facility is well suited for production of the large-scale equipment they design, manufacture and ship globally. Situated in Arcade, NY, the company says that it benefits from its close proximity to international ports, affordable power, and exceptional workforce.

Since 2007 Koike has increased its size three times, including a 30,000 sq. ft. expansion aptly coined the “Big House.”  Additionally, they have doubled their workforce from approximately 75 employees to nearly 150. Currently hiring electronic technicians, machinists and welders, Koike says they have no difficulty recruiting or keeping good employees. According to President Jerry Leary, the region’s workforce is mechanically skilled, highly productive and innovative. Much of Koike’s success can be attributed to their workforce, well served not only by its operations staff but great teams in purchasing, customer service, engineering, and software development.

Koike provided a ringing endorsement for Western New York and in particular Wyoming County, noting the support New York State and Wyoming County IDA provided for their expansions and workforce programs. This is a company that invests in product development, facilities and equipment, as well as in their employees and community… and all are reaping the benefits.

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by Jenna Kavanaugh, Director, Marketing Communications

If We Develop It

The latest report from the CBRE Buffalo office sets industrial vacancy rates at a record-low, 4.5%. On the plus side, we can celebrate the fact that there is growing interest in relocating or expanding a business in Buffalo Niagara.  On the minus side, our inventory of existing commercial real estate, especially in the industrial market, is shrinking.  Large, modern, open facilities with high ceilings and other industrial amenities are difficult to identify in any western New York market. Now is the time for local developers to turn their attention to this pressing lack of industrial inventory.

Spec space can be challenging and partially leased space has been difficult to impossible to finance since the recession. While spec space can be a risky and costly endeavor, properly done, it could benefit both the developer and the Buffalo-Niagara region.

Preparing an industrial site for development can take months, maybe years. This means looking both within, and beyond, the city limits, identifying potential parcels that will suit a manufacturing business’s substantial needs — like access to transportation, low cost power, water, parking and more.

The recent spotlight on Buffalo Niagara has led to even more attention from site selectors. Thanks to our industrial past, there is an available and affordable workforce, attractive to out-of-market manufacturers. But without the real estate, our region is going to miss out on golden opportunities that translate to jobs lost for both younger and older workers.

by Steve Blake, CCIM  Partner, CBRE|Buffalo

 

UB CMI – Connecting Advanced Manufacturers to Solutions

Manufacturing remains the third largest employment sector in Buffalo Niagara, representing 50,000 employees and $6.3 billion in gross regional product. To grow and remain competitive, companies require assistance and assets to innovate, update their business models, develop new products to enter emerging markets, and enhance manufacturing capabilities.

Established in 2012, UB’s NYS Center of Excellence in Materials Informatics (CMI) is a community-based resource to help manufacturing firms grow. With a designated business development executive and more than 50 affiliated faculty members, CMI has assisted more than 100 companies in Buffalo Niagara. Across the industry sectors of advanced manufacturing, clean energy, and life sciences, CMI facilitates access to shared equipment, high-performance computing, funding sources and exceptional research and development capabilities.

CMI works with companies of all sizes, from start-ups to Fortune 500 – they understand the processes, products, and programs that drive success. As business development executive, Chris Janson explains,

“Each company and opportunity is unique. When they explain their situation we listen and then customize a solution that best fits their needs. Every day I connect companies with UB’s vast R&D assets and cultivate relationships between industry and the material scientists who are making the next great breakthroughs in technology. And, if we don’t have the right capabilities in-house, we will connect them with valuable members of the ecosystem and collaborative resources.”

Buffalo Niagara offers many benefits to advanced manufacturers such as skilled workforce and low-cost power, but tools like CMI elevate the strength of our region.  CMI, along with Insyte Consulting, World Trade Center Buffalo Niagara, and EWI is a leading partner in Buffalo Manufacturing Works, one of Governor Cuomo’s Buffalo Billion initiatives. Together, they will help companies with applied R&D, market expansion, and process improvement. BNE proudly promotes these resources to companies looking to expand here; demonstrating our region’s commitment and expertise in this industry.

If you are ready to develop or improve your products and services and bring your industry-changing ideas to market contact:

Christopher Janson

Business Development Executive

716.888.4795

crjanson@buffalo.edu

Watch this video to discover what the CMI can do for you:

by Jenna Kavanaugh, BNE Marketing Director

Powerful Utility Savings a Plus for Canadian Companies

Many Canadian companies considering US expansion are heavy power users and electricity costs can easily eat away at profits.  As Canadian companies seek US expansion for many reasons (made in USA requirements, supply chain, bridge issues/delays, etc.), being able to manage operating costs is yet another major consideration.

When BNE is working through the due diligence process with a prospective company, energy needs and consumption are discussed.  With a large power user, we typically run a comparison between Canadian costs for monthly usage and what the same usage would cost in Buffalo Niagara.  The company shares its current electric bill and our local utility runs the numbers.  Most times there are significant savings.

Many of the larger power users are companies in plastic injection molding or extruding, food processing, or steel processing and fabrication.  A recent example is a plastics company that currently pays $0.13 per kWh for power in Canada. By comparison, they would pay an estimated cost of $0.082 per kWh for that same operation in Buffalo Niagara and realize a savings of over $18,000 each month. A different plastics company could save more than $20,000 per month by reducing their electric costs from $0.14 per kWh to $0.098 per kWh. We were able to identify over $50,000 in monthly savings for a food processing company currently paying $0.19 per kWh for electric.  Their pricing in Buffalo Niagara is estimated at $0.083 per kWh.

Steel processing in Buffalo Niagara.

Steel processing in Buffalo Niagara.

In addition to standard utility savings, companies may also qualify for special incentive programs that further reduce power costs. New York State offers some programs and others are administered by the local utility.  Many are contingent upon the number of new jobs that the company will be creating and the total investment into the new facility.  Prospective companies should consider these programs once they have identified a potential building or land site.   Thanks to our ability to offer low-cost power, selecting Buffalo Niagara for US expansion can make great economic sense for our Canadian neighbors.

by Carolyn Powell, Business Development Manager

BAK to the Future

Bak USA is a company with a conscience.  A manufacturer of low-cost PC tablet devices and mobile smartphones, its philanthropically minded Danish founders, Ulla and J.P. Folsgaard Bak, formed the company to manufacture affordable devices for underserved countries and also to create jobs and a better life for their employees.  Admirable goals on both sides of the equation.

photo credit: KC Kratt Photography

Ulla and J.P. Folsgaard Bak at Bak USA headquarters in Buffalo, NY.

Based on their track record of success at their first factory in Haiti, the Bak’s sought to set-up a U.S. facility in order to expand and extend their reach.  The operation required a clean room environment where operators could assemble devices in a non-assembly line process from components sourced from China.  Integral to the project’s success was keeping overhead costs to a minimum, ensuring that the end products would be affordable and of very high quality. Access to financial incentives was critical in this aspect.  The Baks came to Buffalo in March 2014, meeting with BNE and the University at Buffalo. In typical BNE style, we rolled out the red carpet, grabbed them by the hand and launched the project into hyper speed. We toured potential sites, familiarizing them with service providers and community leaders as well as the region’s diverse workforce.

Along with our proximity to Canada, New York State Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s START UP NY program, which offers a ten-year period free of state taxes, as well as personal income tax exemptions for employees, was a major factor in Bak USA’s decision to establish its business in Buffalo.  After touring multiple sites, they selected the Compass East building, located on Michigan Avenue in the former Sheehan Memorial Hospital.  This will become Bak USA’s global headquarters as well as the first PC tablet and smartphone manufacturing facility in the country.  Bak USA will invest $840,000 in this location and expects to create 267 new jobs in total.

New York State Governor Andrew M. Cuomo's START UP NY program, which offers personal income tax exemptions for employees, was a major factor in Bak USA’s decision to establish its business in Buffalo.

New York State Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s START UP NY program was a major factor in Bak USA’s decision to establish its business in Buffalo.

Currently there are employees from 13 different countries working at the plant, which plays into the company’s dedication to nurturing refugees from other nations, paying workers a living wage, and embracing racial and gender equality.  Students using Bak’s affordable PC tablets across the world benefit from the company’s social responsibility.  And its Buffalo employees are assembling more than affordable high-tech devices – they are building a better future for themselves and their families.

BNE Gives a Lift to Petrolift’s U.S. Expansion

Located in the northeast corner of the continent of Africa, Egypt bridges the worlds of the Sahara and the Middle East.  Its long and storied history is centered on the Nile River, whose fertile banks and logistical value have helped establish the prosperous Egyptian economy.  Evidence of Egypt’s economic strength is in its Gross Domestic Product of $272 billion, ranking the country 40th globally, according to the World Bank.

It’s not surprising that Egyptian companies are seeking opportunities for growth and expansion in the U.S.  Recently, Buffalo Niagara Enterprise was instrumental is assisting an Egyptian manufacturer to locate in Western New York.

Petrolift is a Cairo-based manufacturer of web slings and lifts for industrial applications in the oil and gas industry. From manufacturing to inspection and safety training, Petrolift is a one-stop for specialized lifting equipment.  The lifting industry is growing in North America due to the increase in demand of domestic oil and natural gas production.  After 15 years of successful business in Cairo, Petrolift recognized the opportunity to expand its manufacturing operation into the U.S. to capture this growth.

A key driver for U.S. expansion is the acquisition of a coveted “Made in USA” label for its products.  In its consideration of possible American locations, the company began exploring Buffalo Niagara because of its proximity to Canada. The company saw great benefit in locating to a region that allowed easy access to two international markets.

Petrolift appreciated BNE’s experience in assisting Canadian and International companies in making direct foreign investments into the Buffalo Niagara region.  Through our connections with a host of professionals experienced in international business — including attorneys, bankers, and human resources — BNE was able to aid Petrolift in establishing a $1.7 million operation in Eden with ten employees.

View this and other success stories on our website

By Lorrie Abounader, BNE Business Development Manager