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PHOTOS: D. Gillette, Follett, SunOpta Expanding in Lehigh Valley

By Colin McEvoy on April 1, 2022

The Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation tracked more than 50 major projects or expansions in the region last year, which created or retained more than 5,000 jobs, according to the newly-published LVEDC 2020 Annual Report.

Now, new sets of photos are providing an up-close look at three of those projects.

New photo galleries are available featuring D. Gillette Industrial Services, Inc., a manufacturer of assembly parts and equipment for the military; Follett LCC, a maker of refrigeration products; and SunOpta, a leading global healthy food and beverage company.

LVEDC commissioned the Structure Advertising & Creative Agency to take the photos in order to highlight the regional companies and their recent projects, as well as to emphasize the innovation of the Lehigh Valley’s manufacturing and food & beverage industries in general.

The galleries can be found below:

D. Gillette Industrial Services

D. Gillette Industrial Services announced last summer that it was relocating from its old Bangor location to a new 26,227-square-foot industrial multi-building distribution and office facility in Forks Township, a move that will expand its operations and create jobs in the region.

The move was supported by a 10-year, $380,000 Pennsylvania Industrial Development Authority (PIDA) loan at a 2.5% fixed rate through Lehigh Valley Economic Investment Corporation (LVEIC). LVEDC provides administrative services for LVEIC, and Northampton County first brought the DGI project to the attention of LVEIC.

“I live in New Jersey, and I considered moving my business there, but between LVEIC, LVEDC, SBA, the county, the governor’s team, and Ben Franklin Technology Partners, they all made my decision very easy to stay in Pennsylvania and grow my business here,” said Dee Spencer, President of DGI. “They walked me right through it. PIDA is a great program and I’d recommend it to anyone considering whether to move or stay in Pennsylvania.”

Follett LLC

As Follett LLC moved forward with its $12 million plans to expand its Forks Township manufacturing facility, the company realized the timing of its expansion created a unique opportunity to join the fight against the COVID-19 crisis.

The manufacturer announced it would add another 96,000 square feet to its facility, and part of that project included a redesign of its line of the type of upright medical-grade refrigerators and freezers that will be used for storage of COVID-19 vaccines.

Although those freezers weren’t part of the company’s original plans for the expansion, the timing of the project allowed Follett to increase its production line to help support Operation Warp Speed, the national initiative for the development and distribution of the vaccines.

“So the timing was just perfect,” said Michael Rice, Follett’s Vice President of Marketing and Customer Service.

SunOpta

SunOpta, a food and beverage company focused on making healthy plant- and fruit-based foods and beverages, announced in February that it was once again expanding its Lehigh Valley facility in Upper Macungie Township.

The project continues a series of expansions and added capacity that has been occurring at the facility over the last six years. SunOpta CEO Joe Ennen said the expansion follows the completion of three large projects in the fourth quarter of 2020 to accelerate the growth of the company’s plant-based business.

“I’m pleased to announce the further expansion of our plant-based foods and beverages production capacity,” Ennen said.

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$43.3 Billion

2020 Gross Domestic Product

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