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Graham Manufacturing

April 28, 2020 - 4:57pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Graham Manufacturing, business, batavia, notify, news.

Graham Manufacturing, a publicly traded company, made the decision at the start of the coronavirus pandemic to stop almost all manufacturing operations but keep its entire workforce on the payroll -- including 320 of its Batavia-based employees.

"We continue to pay wages and full benefits to all of our employees," said Jeff Glajch, Graham's chief financial officer.

Keeping employees home helps keep them and the community safe, Glajch said, but also means the company's expenses are exceeding revenue.

When the Payroll Protection Program was announced, with rules that allowed any company with 500 or fewer employees to apply for forgivable loans of up to $10 million to help cover wages and salaries for workers, Graham applied for a loan. There was no stipulation in the first set of rules released by the Treasury Department that discouraged publicly traded companies from accepting the loans.

Graham received a $4.6 million loan.

"We felt at the time it was a legitimate application based on the guidance by the SBA (Small Business Administration)," Glajch said. "Last Thursday, the Treasury changed the guidance on publicly traded companies and suggested that publically traded companies should not receive loans. We felt based on the new guidance that we would return the funds and the funds have been returned, based on this guidance, well before anyone reached out to us."

The loan was repaid along with interest for the two weeks the company possessed the funds.

The Treasury changed the rules for loan eligibility after news reports about publicly traded companies such as Shake Shack and Ruth’s Chris Steak House received loans. The reports helped raise awareness of well-capitalized companies receiving taxpayer money at a time when many small businesses were unable to tap into the initial pool of $350 billion because the first round of loans was oversubscribed.

Congress has since added another $480 billion to the stimulus package but critics have maintained that publicly traded companies getting loans when they have access to financial resources out of reach to very small businesses is against the spirit of the program.

Glajch said he understands the concern. He said many people view the spirit of the program to help very small companies, particularly restaurants and local shops, who have been hard hit by closures. He said many people view companies with one to 50 employees as needing the most help, but the actual rules allow companies with fewer than 500 employees to apply for the loans.

Those companies with fewer than 500 employers include some of Graham's competitors and those competitors are not necessarily publicly traded. Even though those companies are not publicly traded it doesn't mean they aren't well-capitalized, Glajch said.

"My concern is that we have competitors that are privately held with 200 to 300 employees that have access to capital and, especially grants, that we don't," Glajch said. "There are ma-and-pop's that are struggling and they need this funding and if that was the intent, that was great. It makes sense to fund them and but not our competitors who are much larger."

Besides the 310 employees locally, Graham employs another couple dozen people in other locations. 

Graham could have remained operational. It is an essential business according to New York's pandemic rules. It makes equipment essential to the oil industry and to the Navy. Glajch said the company decided it was more important to keep employees safe than to keep the manufacturing plant open. The firm scaled back to about 20 employees working to fulfill its Navy contracts.

"This is a stressful time for everyone and one of the things we didn't want was for our employees to be concerned about was their financial condition," Glajch said. "This is obviously tough of families so we made the decision to continue to pay our employees. It's important for our employees but it's also important for the community. If they aren't making any money they don't have the ability to spend and that impacts the community also."

Graham is phasing in the return of its workers.

"This is a pretty dramatic change in safety practices and cleaning and sanitation practices," Glajch said. "We've put social distancing rules in place and are slowly bringing people back. We thought bringing back everybody at once was too aggressive. We want to make sure our employees are trained and working in a way that meets all of those safety criteria."

Much of Graham's customer base is the oil industry and coronavirus hits at a time when Russia and other OPEC-block countries were in an oil production dispute, driving down the price of oil, and with people traveling less, oil prices have declined sharply on top of that dispute. So far, that shift in the market hasn't affected Graham, but Glajch said "that will take more time to fully play out."

Investors were informed up-front of Graham's plans to stop production but keep paying employees and there has been no push back from investors, Glajch said.

"Investors understand what we're doing," Glajch said. "They understand we're burning cash by keeping people on payroll. I think at the time we had the conversation, no one wondered how long this would be going on, that they felt this would be finite, like a month or two, and they understood what we were doing."

September 6, 2019 - 12:10pm

Press release:

The Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) approved incentives for two projects and accepted an application for incentives at its Thursday, Sept. 5, board meeting.

Graham Manufacturing will invest $2.03 million across multiple projects at its City of Batavia campus which will include an expansion of the company’s welding school, repurposing an existing 4,000-square-foot structure and construction of a new 8,875-square-foot warehouse.

The project would start this fall and be in operation by the end of the first quarter of 2020. The project also will contribute to the Batavia Pathway to Prosperity (BP2) Program. The company will receive sales, mortgage and property tax exemptions of approximately $210,000.

Provident Batavia LLC received approval for incentives to construct a 13,000-square-foot addition to an existing office, warehouse, and distribution facility leased to SCP Pools. The $1.194 million project will retain 15 jobs in the Town of Batavia.

This project is estimated to produce a state and regional economic impact of $594,122 and $61,516 in property taxes over 10 years. Total incentives are approximately $156,312.

Finally, the GCEDC Board accepted an application for incentives from Six Flags Darien Lake LLC for a new $1.575 million 60-foot-tall water ride at the Hurricane Harbor water park in the Town of Darien. If approved, Six Flags would receive sales tax incentives of approximately $126,000. The project will help retain 380 jobs at one of the county’s largest sales tax revenue generators.

September 4, 2019 - 2:37pm

Press release:

The Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) will consider approving incentives for two projects, and consider accepting an application for another project, at its Thursday, Sept. 5, board meeting.

Graham Manufacturing plans to invest $2.03 million across multiple projects at its City of Batavia campus, including expanding the company’s welding school, repurposing an existing 4,000-square-foot structure and construction of a new 8,875-square-foot warehouse.

The company is seeking sales, mortgage and property tax exemptions of approximately $210,000.

Provident Batavia LLC is seeking incentives to construct a 13,000-square-foot addition to an existing office, warehouse, and distribution facility leased to SCP Pools in the Town of Batavia. The $1.194 million project would retain 15 jobs in the Town of Batavia and create opportunities for future growth of the company. 

Total incentives are approximately $156,312.

Finally, Six Flags Darien Lake LLC is seeking sales tax incentives of approximately $126,000 for a new $1.575 million 60-foot-tall water ride at the Hurricane Harbor water park in the Town of Darien. The project will help retain 380 jobs at one of the county’s largest sales tax revenue generators.

Thursday's GCEDC Board meeting will take place at its offices at 99 MedTech Drive in Batavia at 4 p.m. The meeting is open to the public.

August 2, 2019 - 8:56am
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCEDC, business, batavia, Graham Manufacturing.

Press release:

The Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) approved incentives for Graham Manufacturing at the board’s Aug. 1st meeting. The GCEDC board also accepted an application for incentives from Wendt Propane.

Graham Manufacturing is investing $1.075 million for capital improvements to expand various properties at its campus in the City of Batavia. The company will renovate an existing 8,000 square feet of buildings, including an expansion and renovation of its 4,000-square-foot welding school to meet market demand for welders.

An existing 4,000-square-foot manufacturing building also will be repurposed and the company will build a new 5,000-square-foot warehouse for storage needs. A supplemental application from Graham Manufacturing was accepted at the meeting, with a public hearing to be held.

“Graham Manufacturing has a very long history in our community and once again the company is demonstrating its commitment to our community by making capital investments in its infrastructure,” said GCEDC Board Chair Paul Battaglia. “When companies are making these types of investments, it means they intend to stay and grow which is always a positive sign.”

Wendt Propane, based in Sanborn in Niagara County, is seeking sales, mortgage and property tax exemptions of approximately $125,000 to build a new 9,600-square-foot facility in the Town of Le Roy.

The $1.3 million project consists of $800,000 is construction costs, $410,000 is equipment costs, and $90,000 in real estate costs. Construction of the new facility would result in the creation of four new jobs.

July 29, 2019 - 11:09am
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCEDC, Graham Manufacturing, business.

Press release:

The Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) will consider approving incentives for Graham Manufacturing and accepting an application for incentives from Wendt Propane at the board’s Aug. 1 meeting.

Graham Manufacturing plans to invest $1.67 million on three projects at its City of Batavia campus, including expanding the company’s welding school, repurposing an existing 4,000-square-foot structure and construction of a new 8,875-square-foot warehouse. The company is seeking sales, mortgage and property tax exemptions of approximately $210,000.

Wendt Propane, based in Sanborn in Niagara County, has submitted an application for incentives to build a new 9,600-square-foot facility in the Town of Le Roy. The $1.3 million project would create four new jobs. The company is seeking sales, mortgage and property tax exemptions of approximately $125,000.

The GCEDC Board meeting will take place at its offices on 99 MedTech Drive in Batavia at 3 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 1. The meeting is open to the public.

February 8, 2019 - 10:28am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Graham Manufacturing, business, GCEDC, batavia.

Press release: 

The Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) voted to accept applications for incentives from Graham Manufacturing and Gateway GS, LLC at the agency’s Feb. 7 board meeting. 

Graham Manufacturing is investing $1.075 million for capital improvements to expand various properties at its campus in the City of Batavia. The company will renovate an existing 8,000 square feet of buildings, including an expansion and renovation of its 4,000-square-foot welding school to meet market demand for welders. 

An existing 4,000-square-foot manufacturing building also will be repurposed and the company will build a new 5,000-square-foot warehouse for storage needs. The capital investments will help Graham retain 291 jobs in the City of Batavia.

The company is seeking sales, mortgage and property tax exemptions totaling approximately $130,000. For every $1 of public benefit offered, Graham Manufacturing is investing and helping generate an economic contribution/ impact of approximately $5.90 into the economy. 

Gateway GS, LLC is investing $450,000 to build out the interior of an existing 27,000-square-foot speculative building the company constructed in 2018 at the Gateway II Corporate Park in Batavia. The project would create five new jobs.

Gateway GS, LLC intends to lease the space where tenants would provide input to the final buildout. Among the various uses that the building offers includes space for warehouse, distribution, light manufacturing, technology and commercial operations.

The company is seeking sales, mortgage and property tax exemptions totaling approximately $206,000. For every $1 of public benefit offered, Gateway GS, LLC is investing and helping generate an economic contribution/ impact of approximately $12.60 into the economy. 

“We are very excited to support two great projects that will have significant economic impacts for Genesee County and Batavia,” said GCEDC Board Chairman Paul Battaglia.

“These projects demonstrate the importance of assisting companies such as Graham Manufacturing that are retaining jobs and in the instance of Gateway GS creating new jobs and hopefully even more new jobs as they bring in tenants to their spec building.”

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