BRISTOL - City, Chamber of Commerce and state officials held a ribbon cutting ceremony at Curtis Products Wednesday to celebrate the successful relocation from Waterbury and expansion of the company in Bristol.
Rob Weintraub, president of Curtis Products, said the new location, which he closed on June 12, is an upgrade from an 11,000- square-foot space to a 16,500-square-foot space. It also allowed Curtis to incorporate Quality Automatics, of Oakville, which they recently acquired, under the same roof.
Curtis Products got its start in 1950, and Weintraub has been the owner since 2006. He said he had been working with the City of Bristol for the past few years to find a good place to expand. This, he added, was also the largest expansion for the company during his time heading it.
Weintraub aimed to hire 35 people after his move and said he has “met and exceeded” that goal. The company invested $500,000 in the new location and benefited from a $69,000 economic development grant. Weintraub has suggested that he may expand into another 10,000 square feet of available space at the new location in the future.
Weintraub thanked the city, state and chamber officials who helped make the expansion possible.
“It is very difficult to compete in a high cost area of the world and country and the help we have received from you is a critical part of leveling the playing field for us,” he said. “I believe the return to the city and the state in terms of our retaining, training and hiring of employees, our spending for infrastructure and equipment, and all the necessary production expenses for our business is already substantial and provides a solid return on the taxes of our citizens.”
Weintraub said the decision to remain in Connecticut and to make these investments was not easy, but was “greatly influenced” by the representatives of the agencies he dealt with and the “positive signs” he saw.
“The decision was influenced by everything from Bristol’s continued, sound and prudent financial strategies and the city being able to offer one of the most competitive tax rates, to recent changes at the state level to control worker’s compensation insurance costs,” said Weintraub. “The city and state have also demonstrated an increased focus on communicating with manufacturers and training young people for jobs in manufacturing and the trades.”
Lindy Lee Gold, economic development specialist with the state Department of Economic and Community Development, attended the ribbon cutting ceremony. Weintraub thanked her for connecting him with programs to help him find trained employees.
“It is always a treat when you can see the projects that you’ve worked on come to fruition,” said Gold. “Our focus has been on co-investing with businesses for their expansion and for the expansion of the workforce in the state. We have been working closely with the Department of Labor to meet manufacturers’ training needs and to provide incentives that allow companies to operate and to grow here. This company is a great example of a successful public and private partnership.”
Mayor Ellen Zoppo-Sassu said it is always a highlight of her day to go out and welcome new businesses or those that are renovating, expanding and contributing to the local economy.
“This business park has been a major stabilization factor for our local economy,” she said. “We recently welcomed Amazon around the corner from here. This will help to create vibrancy and put this industrial park on the map.”
Councilor Dave Mills said that seeing Curtis Products complete their expansion is “fantastic.”
“The fact that they are looking to hire more people makes it even better,” he said.
Cindy Bombard, president and CEO of the Central CT Chambers of Commerce, said it is “wonderful” to have a new manufacturer in Bristol.
“They will bring good, quality jobs and they will be a great partner for the city,” she said.
Justin Malley, executive director of the Bristol Development Authority, said Curtis Products’ move coming to fruition is an example of why it is important to maintain a strong relationship with companies planning on moving in.
“In the economic development process sometimes you get a quick hit and sometimes it takes a while for the pieces to fall into place,” he said. “Curtis had been looking for a place to expand to for quite some time and we maintained a strong level of customer service throughout that process.”
Brian M. Johnson can be reached at 860-973-1806 or firstname.lastname@example.org.