Kalamazoo, Michigan-based Fabri-Kal still growing after buying, refurbishing former Mead paper mill in Kalamazoo; employment has tripled to over 120 since it bought the building in 2008

LOS ANGELES , November 1, 2011 () – Fabri-Kal Corp.’s plastic food packaging operation in Kalamazoo, Michigan, has continued to grow since it bought the former Mead Corp. mill in 2008, reported the Kalamazoo Gazette on Oct. 30.

The company now employs over 120 people at its Kalamazoo operation, up from about 40 employees it started with three years ago.

The US$3.5 million purchase of the empty 387,360-square-foot facility was part of a $41-millon investment that included replacing the roof, upgrades to power and water lines, and a revamp of the office space, the Gazette reported.

The renovation work was recognized for attaining certain standards for energy efficiency and sustainability, receiving a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design silver certificate from the U.S. Green Building Council.

At the time of the purchase, Fabri-Kal needed to expand. The company had outgrown its existing plant in Kalamazoo and was concerned about limited capacity at its operations in Pennsylvania and South Carolina, said Gary Galia, Fabri-Kal’s executive VP and CFO, reported the Gazette.

The Mead building gave Fabri-Kal the additional space to expand and to create a new center for designs and innovations. It also provided access to a rail line. The purchase closed in March 2008, and Fabri-Kal reopened in the new facility four months later.

In the Kalamazoo area, the former Mead mill is the only one of five paper mills that closed at the start of the new Millennium that is still being fully used. Mead’s Kalamazoo operation started up in 1968 and produced and converted the paper for school and office supplies.

Mead announced in August 2000 that it was closing the mill, resulting in the loss of 180 jobs, the Gazette reported.

The primary source of this article is the Kalamazoo Gazette, Kalamazoo, Michigan, on Oct. 30, 2011.

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