Plastics Firm Will Add Royalton Jobs
Royalton — GW Plastics announced Monday a planned $10 million expansion to its Royalton facility, which the company said will add roughly 70 jobs over the next three to five years.
Starting later this month, the Bethel-based contract manufacturing business plans to grow its plant on Waterman Road by at least 21,000 square feet, creating space for 30 new industrial machines, according to a Monday news release. The addition will also provide workforce training for GW employees, customers and area high schools.
“In a year that marks GW Plastics’ 60th anniversary, we are delighted to announce this expansion reaffirming our commitment to growing in Vermont while serving the needs of our customers globally,” CEO Brenan Riehl said in the release.
In Monday’s announcement, the company noted incentives offered by Vermont officials to keep the expansion here, which included a $500,000 grant from the Vermont Enterprise Fund.
Royalton resident Joan Goldstein oversaw the project both as a town Selectboard member and as commissioner of the Vermont Department of Economic Development.
“In both cases,” she said of the town and state levels, “everybody’s really, really happy about this expansion.”
Goldstein noted that there had been competition from several other GW Plastics locations, including sites in Texas, Arizona, Mexico and China.
GW had also been considering expanding in southern New Hampshire, near a customer whose new business is driving the growth plan, according to an Oct. 19 release from Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin announcing the $500,000 grant.
“We are delighted to partner with GW Plastics to assist with this critical expansion,” Vermont Commerce Secretary Patricia Moulton said in Monday’s announcement. “GW Plastics continues to thrive in Vermont due to superb management and workforce. We look forward to another 60 years of growth for this advanced manufacturer.”
Reached by phone Monday evening, Goldstein emphasized the importance of attracting business to Vermont and keeping it there.
“We did all we could to make sure that that happens,” she said. “If we don’t keep those businesses here, we will miss out on every future lifetime value of that business being in Vermont.”
The competition that the state overcame to bring the investment to Royalton is common to many Vermont companies, Goldstein said.
“They operate in multiple states and multiple countries … they have options,” she said. “We need to just bear in mind that we are competing in a global marketplace.”
GW Plastics is headquartered in Bethel, where it was founded in 1955 in a converted dairy barn.
The company now employs about 1,000 people worldwide and 300 in its two Vermont locations, according to a July interview with Riehl, the CEO, in the Upper Valley business magazine Enterprise , which is published by the Valley News . The company’s revenues approach $150 million.
In that interview, which took place before Shumlin’s half-million-dollar offer, Riehl explained that the relatively high cost of business in Vermont balanced with the ability to work closely with state officials.
“Vermont is a challenging place to do business, with expensive housing costs, high personal and corporate taxes, declining population and high energy costs,” Riehl told a reporter. “But it is a small state, so you can collaborate, if you choose, with the state’s key decision-makers to help them understand that, in this globalized world, companies in Vermont face great challenges to remain competitive. We have chosen to do that and have now been here for decades.”
Representatives of the manufacturing company, who made the announcement by email late Monday afternoon, could not be reached for further comment.
Rob Wolfe can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 603-727-3242.