New industry locating at former glass plant in Millville

City and county leaders welcomed Component Technology Inc. to the city on Monday.The company, which will retain its plant in Branchburg, Somerset County, is expected to create between 50 and 75 jobs at the Harris Industrial Park, the site of the former Ball-Foster glass plant on South Second streets.The company makes roof trusses and wall panels for residential builders.

"We will be making enough roof trusses for 1,000 to 1,500 homes a year," Robert Goldman, president and chief executive officer, said at an outdoor news conference. Production is expected to begin by April.

"Millville was by far the best place that we could have come," Goldman said about looking in southern New Jersey and Pennsylvania for a place to expand. "Brad and Paul Harris had the perfect building, and they have been great to work with."

Goldman also praised the economic development offices in the city and county for their assistance and the county Office of Employment and Training.

Brad Harris, senior member of Harris Industrial Park LLC, said Component Technology is leasing two buildings - one for an office and an approximate 43,000-square-foot building for its manufacturing.

Goldman and Harris said equipment will be moved in soon.

"What a great day for the city of Millville and Cumberland County," said Mayor Jim Quinn, adding that the closing of the Ball-Foster plant 31/2 years ago was heartbreaking.

"We are having a renaissance here," said Quinn, citing the development of the Harris Industrial Park. "I predict in a year or so that we will have more jobs here than were lost."

Cumberland County Freeholder Director James Sauro said: "I'm so pleased that this company is coming to Millville. It shows our marketing program is working. I assure you that the Cumberland County Board of Freeholders will do everything to make sure this business expands here.

"It's a wonderful day for this old plant," said Don Ayres, Millville executive director of economic development. "Partnerships are the key to making this work. It flows from Goldman and Component Technology to Brad and Paul Harris, entrepreneurs who are making great strides in developing the area and bringing it back to life." He also cited the cooperation between the city and county.

Ayres pointed out that the city is applying for a $120,000 economic development loan to the state Urban Enterprise Zone Authority for Component Technology Inc. for new equipment. This funding would come from the Enterprise Zone Assistance Fund.

Stephen Kehs, county director of planning and economic development, told how impressed he and others from the county were in visiting the Component Technology plant in Branchburg where they talked with longtime employees who spoke so highly about the company.

"This will be a great marriage with the city of Millville and with Cumberland County," Kehs declared.

John Fuentes, executive director of the county Office of Employment and Training, said: "It has been a pleasure for my office to collaborate with Mr. Goldman."

Goldman noted that 75 people were interviewed at a job fair and two already have been hired.

Jack Stolze, regional vice president of Component Technology, added, "Our market for our product seems to be moving in this direction, predicting a growing home construction market in southern New Jersey.

Taking the visitors from the site of the historic bell that had been dedicated to the glass workers in 1991, while the plant was still in operation, Brad Harris took the group to the back of the property overlooking the various buildings that have been refurbished, as well as showing where three quarters of a million dollars of demolition work has been done to date. He showed them building #84, the location of Component Technology.

"This is the key step in the birth of the Harris Industrial Park," Brad Harris said. He cited the family's desire to bring jobs and ratables to the city.

The Harris Industrial Park has 72 acres. Harris said that 30 to 40 truckloads of glass bottles a day are distributed for Leone Industries of Bridgeton to all parts of the world. Located in the park are several small businesses.

Harris announced plans to build pole barn garages with offices of varying sizes to accommodate small businesses. He also said that an acre of land in the parking lot across the street has been sold for a car wash.

The glass plant, which was the oldest continuously operating glass manufacturing operation in the United States, closed in 1999.

The first glass plant in Millville was started by James Lee in 1806. In 1832, Frederick Schetter built the factory on South Second Street. They were later combined into one plant at the South Millville location. At the time of the closing, Saint Gobain, the plant's French parent company, said it was too costly to operate.

600450 New industry locating at former glass plant in Millville
Date: 15 November 2002
Source: Press of Atlantic City

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