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Chapin Manufacturing

May 26, 2021 - 12:04pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, notify, Chapin International, Chapin Manufacturing.

james_w._campbell_1.jpgJim Campbell, president and chief executive officer of Chapin International Inc., says the current labor situation in New York State is forcing him to “right size” operations at the Batavia facility on Ellicott Street.

“I can’t get people to work and the way the state is going, I have to right size my operation in Batavia,” Campbell (photo at right) said by telephone this morning. “We’re moving equipment out of Batavia and it’s work that we’ve done here in the past. We’ve pulled out some of that equipment and moved that to Mount Vernon.”

The Mount Vernon that he mentions is the community in Kentucky where, last October, Chapin expanded its compressed sprayer operation by purchasing the 175,000-square-foot former Eagle Manufacturing plant in the Rockcastle Business Park.

The $5.495 million investment has produced positive results in the Bluegrass State as production and warehousing capacity has increased, Campbell said, adding that the company is looking to buy another 500,000-square-foot building about 30 minutes from Mount Vernon.

“On a daily basis, without advertising, we have five or six people just come to our door wanting work. They show up and we interview them right then,” Campbell said. “We’ll be up to 100 employees in Kentucky by February or March, so we’re more than halfway there already. People there are eager to work.”

A Different Story in Batavia

The same can’t be said for what is happening in Batavia, the home base of the company that produces and ships high-quality compressed air sprayers and hand sprayers. The firm’s origin dates back to 1884 when Oakfield resident Ralph E. Chapin set up the manufacturing plant in Batavia.

“(Eight months ago) all the production that we put in Kentucky was expansion and new machines that we purchased from an automotive company and moved them into Mount Vernon. We got those up and running,” Campbell said. “But now, we’ve removed some resin blow molders out of Batavia and moved them to Mount Vernon. Two of them are in production already.”

Campbell said that despite paying prevailing wages and offering referral incentives to employees, the Chapin plant in Batavia is suffering from a shortage of workers.

“We’re 20 to 30 people short every day although the pay scales (in Batavia and Kentucky) are exactly the same -- $22 to 23 an hour – with entry level people starting around $14 to 15 an hour,” Campbell said, noting that overall, the number of employees in Batavia is down from a desired 285 to about 240.

He attributes the problem to unemployment insurance and other New York State mandates that are hampering the business community.

“The additional $300 a month that the federal government is giving (is a key factor) plus people can get health insurance free for six months,” Campbell said. “We have a great benefits package – health care, 401(k), vacation -- but entry-level people can make the same amount of money with the bonus money that the federal government is giving as coming to work, so people don’t bother. Or they’re not interested in staying. They come for a couple days and leave, and get back on unemployment.”

Extended Unemployment Hurting Business

Campbell put the blame squarely on the state Department of Labor.

“Unemployment isn’t like what it was in the old days when we thought about it. If you quit your job, you couldn’t get unemployment for six or eight weeks – or if you got fired – now they just give it to you, no matter what. Plus, the unemployment people – I hate to say it – aren’t doing their job,” he said.

“Back in the day, you had to look for work to get unemployment. You had to say, ‘I went here, I went there.’ Well, nobody does that anymore. You get whatever it is – number of months, weeks – and you’re all set.”

He said that four or five employees have taken advantage of the company’s offer to give them a $1,000 bonus by referring someone who joins the Batavia workforce and stays for 90 days, but it’s not enough.

“The situation is definitely affecting our shipments. Our people are pretty productive – the ones who are there – but we can’t build as much as we want, especially on second shift,” he said. “We’re shutting machines down every day that we have orders for. We’re a company that prides itself on shipping on time … we have a tremendous backlog now. I can’t even dig into my backlog.”

Other Factors: Sick Leave, HERO Act

Campbell also mentions the state’s new sick leave policy and the HERO (Health and Essential Rights) Act as obstacles.

“(Gov. Andrew) Cuomo’s a vindictive guy; you hate to say too much, you know, but a few months back they put in a sick leave policy where everyone gets 56 hours of paid sick leave,” he said. “We negotiate all of those things, and that will be negotiated in the next contract, of course.

“Fifty-six hours is way more than anyone ever took, but now it’s like vacation time and it’s paid 100 percent. When you’re running production lines and people don’t give any notice that they’re not coming in, it just shuts equipment down, other people don’t have work. It’s just a terrible situation.”

He called the HERO Act “a horrible thing” for companies outside of the public healthcare arena.

“We take care of sanitation and other things, but supposedly this was for permanent airborne disease – trying to stop it in the future,” he said. “We’re taking something that is applicable to hospitals and old folks’ homes and applying it to manufacturing. The thing goes into effect the first week of June and we don’t even have the laws from OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) yet saying how it affects manufacturing, in general.”

Then, there is the matter of taxes.

“And now Cuomo is saying he’s going to raise the taxes on businesses in New York State. It’s getting impossible. First, we don’t have people. Wages are … we’re in an inflationary period no matter what anybody says. I don’t care what the federal government says,” he offered.

Campbell said costs of raw materials, such as high-density polyethylene, which has gone from 58 cents a pound to more than $1 a pound, are up considerably and those increases get passed on to the consumer.

More Equipment is Heading South

What all this means is that more blow molders will have to be relocated from Batavia to Kentucky, reducing the number here to about eight, Campbell said.

“In Batavia, we had 15 blow molders – some with five heads that can build five sprayer models at a time and some with two, three or single heads,” he said. “The single-headed ones, which are less efficient, I moved those to Kentucky. Then, a month ago, I moved a three-headed blow molder, and in another month, I’ll move a sister machine to Kentucky.”

For a company firmly entrenched in Genesee County for so long, the labor trend is unsettling, Campbell admitted.

“In the end, we’re a high-volume, low-margin business that makes millions and millions of sprayers per year. But they’re not big margin. You’ll see us spending a lot more money on automation,” he said. “I’ve been the president now for 17 years and I’ve never laid one person off due to automation or business reasons because we’ve grown every year.”

Until more potential workers come knocking on the door at the Chapin Manufacturing facility at 700 Ellicott St., Campbell said he has to ensure that he’s “right sizing it to the amount of people I can get.”

“This is where Chapin would like to keep the headquarters,” he said. “We’re staunch allies of Batavia and Genesee County. New York State? Not so much.”

Previously: LIVE: Interview with Bill Campbell, VP, Chapin International

Previously: Chapin Manufacturing CEO says Kentucky investment continues 'expansion of organic growth'

October 9, 2020 - 5:18pm
posted by Press Release in Chapin Manufacturing, business, batavia.

Press release:

Chapin International is expanding operations to Kentucky with the purchase of the former Eagle Manufacturing facility in Mount Vernon, a municipality in Rockcastle County. The 175,000-square-foot facility in the Rockcastle Business Park will provide greatly needed production and warehouse capacity to position the company for further growth.

With this facility Chapin’s USA manufacturing and warehousing footprint is over 1.25 million square feet. Clearly by volume and size Chapin International is the largest manufacturer of compressed air sprayers in North America today. 

The company’s investment will also provide employment opportunities and economic activity to the local community.

“This is just a continued expansion of organic growth that Chapin has been having over the last 15 years” said Jim Campbell, CEO of Chapin Manufacturing. “We have been growing at a rate of anywhere between 4 percent and 9 percent a year for the last 15 years, so things have gone well for us.” 

Chapin International is a subsidiary of Chapin Manufacturing based in Batavia, New York. The company is a leader in the design, manufacturing and marketing of high quality compressed air sprayers and hand sprayers used in home, garden, commercial landscape, agricultural and industrial applications.

Chapin Manufacturing was established in 1884 in Oakfield, New York by hardware store owner Ralph E. Chapin who set up the manufacturing business in Batavia. The company also conducts business via Chapin Custom Molding in Elyria, Ohio and two additional Chapin International operations in Coopersville, Michigan and Clarence, New York.  

Campbell said Chapin Manufacturing has been looking for more warehouse space in either Tennessee or Kentucky for quite some time to more efficiently serve customers in the South and Midwest.

“We needed another shipping point other than New York and this facility came available to us” he said. “This particular facility…made product out of resin which is what we do.

"We actually purchased additional blow molding equipment from a company in Kentucky. So it all came together quite well for us – buying equipment from one company and just moving it a couple hundred miles to our new facility in Kentucky.”

He said the company simply has run out of room at its plant in Batavia.

“We have no additional space. It’s 700,000 square feet here and it’s overfull,” he said. “We’ve been renting warehouse space in other states now so, really, we’d like to do away with some of that rental stuff and put it in our own facility.”

The Kentucky facility will be used primarily for warehousing, with about 20 percent to 30 percent designated for manufacturing. All metal sprayers are made in Batavia, New York and will stay here,” Campbell said. “We will make a couple of different models of sprayers in Kentucky – products that are much larger than what we mold today in Batavia.”

Sprayers made in the new plant location will be made exclusively of HDPE plastic. Machine tools needed to produce sprayers for customers in the South and Midwest regions of the country will be relocated to Kentucky, which will free up more warehouse space in the Batavia facility.  

Campbell said the company “is excited to be setting up a new operation in Rockcastle County, Kentucky” and praised leaders there for acting rapidly to make the purchase possible.

“We went down there and they had the judge, which is the County executive for them, (Rockcastle County Judge /Executive Howell Holbrook Jr.), and the executive director of the IDA along with their state legislator and one of the Project managers from Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development along with one other from the county – all five people sat down at the table and we could just finish the deal there,” he said.

“All the stakeholders in one room. In New York state that never happens. You have to go through layer after layer for permission.”

He said the deal came together “quicker and better” because the county owns the building that the company purchased.  

Chapin’s investment in the Bluegrass State is estimated at about $5 million. Campbell said employees at the Kentucky facility will be local residents, and he anticipates a workforce of 100 within 3-5 years.  

The company’s incentive package from the state of Kentucky is modest compared to some of the tax abatements approved in New York State.

“As long as we hit the employment number they will give us a tax break -- that’s the total incentive package” he said. 

Requirements for the incentive to kick in are creating and maintaining 100 full-time jobs over 10 years for Kentucky residents and paying an average hourly wage of $22.40, including benefits.  

Campbell said the Kentucky contingent had all of the environmental aspects of the transaction in place and Chapin is looking forward to starting operations quickly.

Chapin is always on the lookout for opportunities to acquire companies or products in the lawn and garden market, as well as custom molding, if someone is looking to sell a company or blow molder they should shoot Chapin International an email.

October 2, 2020 - 9:05am
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, notify, Chapin Manufacturing, Chapin International.

25_gallon_sprayer.png

The president and chief executive officer of Chapin International Inc. said the company is well positioned to expand its warehousing and manufacturing operations to the Kentucky city of Mount Vernon, a small municipality that is part of the Richmond-Berea micropolitan area in Rockcastle County.

“This is just a continued expansion of organic growth that Chapin has been having over the last 15 years,” Jim Campbell said on Thursday. “We have been growing at a rate of anywhere between 4 percent and 9 percent a year for the last 15 years, so things have gone well for us.”

Calling 2020 “a big year,” Campbell said Chapin will be signing documents to finalize the purchase of the 175,000-square-foot former Eagle Manufacturing facility in the Rockcastle Business Park.

The company’s investment in the Bluegrass State is pegged at $5.495 million.

Chapin International is a subsidiary of Batavia-based Chapin Manufacturing, which designs, creates and markets high-quality compressed air sprayers and hand sprayers. The company was started in 1884 in Oakfield by hardware store owner Ralph E. Chapin, who set up the manufacturing business in Batavia.

Campbell said the company “is excited to be standing up a new operation in Rockcastle County, Kentucky” and praised leaders there for acting rapidly to make the purchase possible.

“We went down there and they had the judge, which is the county executive for them (Rockcastle County Judge/Executive Howell Holbrook Jr.), and the head of their IDA along with their state legislator and one of the county people there and another person from the state – all five people could sit down at the table and you could just finish the deal there,” he said. “All the stakeholders were in one room. In New York State that never happens; you have to go through layer after layer for permission.”

He said the deal came together “quicker and better” because the county owns the building that will be used primarily for warehousing, with about 20 percent of it designated for the manufacturing of sprayers made exclusively of plastic – not the metal sprayers that are made in Batavia. A story in another local news publication erroneously reported that metal sprayers will be made at the Kentucky plant.

“All metal sprayers are made in Batavia, New York and will stay here,” Campbell said. “We will make a couple of different models in Kentucky – products that are much larger than what we mold today in Batavia. We mold up to about a four-gallon product here. Down there, we’ll mold up to a 60- or 100-gallon container.”

Campbell said Chapin Manufacturing has been looking for more warehouse space in either Tennessee or Kentucky for quite some time because the biggest concentration of its customers is in the South and Midwest. The firm also conducts business via Chapin Custom Molding in Elyria, Ohio and Chapin International in Coopersville, Mich., and Clarence, NY.

“We needed another shipping point other than New York and this facility came available to us,” he said. “This particular facility … made product out of resin, which is like what we do. And we actually bought some equipment from an automotive company in Kentucky. So, it all came together very well for us – buying equipment from one company and just moving it a couple hundred miles to put into this other facility in Kentucky.”

He said the company simply has run out of room at its plant in Batavia.

“We have no additional space. It’s 700,000 square feet here and it’s overfull,” he said. “We’ve been renting warehouse space in other states now so, really, we’d like to do away with some of that rental stuff and put it in our own facility.”

Campbell said a couple machine tools needed to produce the sprayers for customers in that part of the country will be relocated to Kentucky, which also will free up some warehouse space in the Batavia facility at 700 Ellicott St.

He also said all employees at the Kentucky building will be local residents, and anticipates a work force of 100 within three years.

Chapin’s incentive package is modest compared to some of the tax abatements approved in New York State.

“As long as I hit my employment number, they will give us a tax break of $100,000 a year for 10 years – that’s the total incentive package,” he said with a chuckle.

Requirements for the incentive to kick in reportedly are creating and maintaining 100 Kentucky-resident, full-time jobs across 10 years and paying an average hourly wage of $22.40, including benefits.

Campbell said the Kentucky contingent had all of the environmental aspects of the transaction in place and Chapin will be making an official announcement in the near future.

15_gallon_sprayer.jpg

Photos: Two varieties of Chapin plastic sprayers that will be manufactured at the company's new facility in Kentucky -- a 25-gallon ATV Spreader with Variable Speed Flow Control at top and a 15-gallon 12V Deluxe Dripless EZ Mount ATV Spot Sprayer​ at bottom.

April 9, 2020 - 10:08am

Press release:

Assemblyman Steve Hawley is thanking a longtime local business for supporting the community during this current healthcare crisis. Chapin Manufacturing, a staple business since 1884, is donating one gallon and three gallon spraying containers for the purposes of disinfecting buildings during the coronavirus outbreak.

“When the CEO reached out to me last week, I was absolutely thrilled to hear and couldn’t say yes fast enough,” Hawley said. “It’s good to see that despite all of the confusion and concern throughout the state and the country, people are still stepping up to help their neighbors. It gives me the hope and reassurance that after all this is over, our community will come back together stronger than ever.”

The sprayers will be distributed to the Genesee County, Orleans County, and Monroe County Emergency Management offices. The EMOs will coordinate with local hospitals, fire departments, EMTs and schools to ensure that everyone has an opportunity to participate in using these generous gifts.

September 15, 2017 - 3:18pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Chapin Manufacturing, batavia, business.

chapin15k2017.jpg

Chapin sponsored a golf tournament Aug. 10 and raised $15,000 for Crossroads House. Today, members of the Chapin team presented a check to Jeff Allen, director of Crossroads House.

Photo: Jeff Allen, Ann Blake, Peg Patterson-Case, Debbie Zawadzki, Norm Hubbard and Chris Rumfola.

December 24, 2015 - 1:34pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, Chapin Manufacturing, business.

(Submitted photo and story from Chapin Manufacturing, Inc.)

We do not often these days hear about lifelong employment and people who spend their entire career at one company. But, that very thing has happened here in Batavia at Chapin Manufacturing. Batavia native Ron Odessa joined Chapin in September 1965 and just celebrated his 50th anniversary with the company.

Mr. Odessa’s anniversary celebration was capped off by a presentation of a solid gold “Chapin Chip” presented to him at the annual shareholders’ luncheon by Andris Chapin, chairman of the Board of Directors. He accepted the gift graciously, saying with a sly grin, “Things are going well here, I’m thinking about making a career of it.”

Upon close inspection, a visitor might notice the name Ronald Odessa on many of the patents hanging in the hallway at Chapin. These innovations were made possible by Ron’s imagination, creativity and pragmatism developed during a lifetime spent in Manufacturing, Engineering and Quality.   

In his spare time, Mr. Odessa, an eighth degree Black Belt, teaches martial arts at Borell’s Karate Academy in Batavia, and was once considered somewhat of a rock star having played in a well-known Batavia-based band in the 1950s.                  

Chapin International, Inc., is a manufacturer of compressed air sprayers and broadcast spreaders. Homeowners and commercial customers know the familiar red Chapin logo means quality, innovative engineering and quality.

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