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.