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LVEDC Helps Two Area Manufacturers to Obtain Financing

By LVEDC Staff on May 14, 2013

A pair of Lehigh Valley manufacturing companies – Allentown-based Lightweight Manufacturing, Inc. and Easton-based Follett Corp. – recently received a combined $2.52 million in Pennsylvania Industrial Development Authority (PIDA) financing administered by the Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corp. (LVEDC).

LVEDC worked with Lightweight Manufacturing and the commonwealth to arrange for $720,000 in PIDA funding. The overall project, which comes in at $1.2 million, will allow Lightweight Manufacturing to add up to 10 new employees over the next three years.

On behalf of Follett Corp., LVEDC was able to obtain more than $1.8 million in financing that will allow the company to re-launch two existing products as part of a $3.7 million expansion project. Follett expects to create 50 additional jobs over the next three years.

Both companies took advantage of the historically low 1.5 percent financing rate that the commonwealth had offered through the end of March.

“Our goal with the LVEDC Finance Department is to provide companies who want to grow here, come here or start here the quickest and easiest access to the best sources of funding for their needs,” said Don Cunningham, LVEDC president and CEO. “Lightweight Manufacturing and Follett took advantage of that and as a result are now better positioned for future competitiveness and growth.”

Lightweight Manufacturing sought to expand their operation from the current 22,000 square feet of industrial space they lease from the Allentown Economic Development Corp. The firm now has the capital to purchase and renovate an existing industrial building at 1139 Sumner Ave., Whitehall and the adjoining parking lot at 1143 Sumner Ave., Allentown.

The expanded space not only allows for more efficient production capabilities, but will also cut down on the company’s need to outsource work. By owning rather than leasing, Lightweight Manufacturing can more easily justify long-term investments in modifications that will improve the efficiency of its manufacturing process and create new business opportunities.

Lightweight Manufacturing constructs fabric panels made from industrial coated fabrics. The products are utilized as covers for permanent and temporary fabric structures.

Since 1948, the Follett Corporation has been an industry leader in designing and manufacturing ice storage and transportation systems, ice and beverage dispensers, and medical-grade refrigerators and freezers for the foodservice and healthcare industries. The company intends to invest its funding into a 25,000-square-foot expansion and renovation of its 131,400-square-foot facility located at 801 Church Lane, Easton.

Upon the project’s completion, the company will be able to increase capacity, competitiveness and product quality. The company also expects to introduce new products, such as large medical refrigerators and extensions for its recently launched ice and water dispensers.

The PIDA program is considered by the majority of lenders to be Pennsylvania’s flagship economic development lending program. The program can provide up to $2.25 million in financing with a repayment term of up to 15 years.

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