Delaware’s investment board, the Council on Development Finance (CDF), has approved funding for three expansion projects – two manufacturing companies and one chemical company. Eastern Highway Specialists and New Jersey-based Advantage Building Supply will both expand in Wilmington, while AWSM Solutions Delaware will expand in Bear. All three projects were presented to the CDF by the Delaware Prosperity Partnership (DPP) and its partners.
Eastern Highway Specialists (EHS) began working with DPP on its site search in 2018. The 17-year-old highway and bridge construction company works projects throughout the region and generates approximately $14 million in annual revenue. Currently leasing space on Church Street in Wilmington, the company has outgrown its location and has purchased a 4-acre brownfield site in Northeast Wilmington. EHS will invest nearly $4 million into the property and plans to build a 21,000-square-foot shop and office for its new headquarters and operations. There also will be room to build two more buildings on the property in the future. The project includes repaving and upgrading the public infrastructure along Downing Drive, which will benefit other existing employers and landowners.
“This project will help EHS move into our next step of growth as a company,” said EHS owners Bob and Clair Field. “As native Wilmingtonians, we are also excited to stay in Wilmington and contribute to the economic wellbeing of the City of Wilmington.”
For EHS, the CDF reviewed and approved a Performance Grant of up to $181,000 and a Capital Expenditure Grant of up to $60,000 for a total of up to $241,000. As part of the project, EHS will create up to 17 new positions, bringing its employee count to 66 over the next three years. The City of Wilmington Economic Development Office was instrumental in helping the company navigate infrastructure and development issues in getting the site ready for the expansion.
Also in Wilmington, Advantage Building Supply Corp., a construction materials supplier, and Zulu Fire Doors LLC are expanding their operations to Delaware from New Jersey. The privately owned company will operate three different entities at its recently acquired location. One entity will manufacture metal doors, a second will manufacture wood doors and the third will distribute construction materials. Advantage Building Supply Corp. was created in 2005 and currently has operations in Paterson, NJ and Bronx, NY.
The CDF reviewed and approved Advantage Building Supply’s request for a Performance Grant of up to $200,920 and a Capital Expenditure Grant of up to $138,000 for a total of up to $338,920. With plans to be operational in mid-2021, Advantage Building Supply and its associated entities are planning to invest over $8 million, including acquisition costs and upgrades to the existing buildings, and plans to employ 118 people over the next three years at the Wilmington location.
The City of Wilmington Economic Development Office was involved with helping the company navigate local regulations and requirements. Advantage Building Supply was attracted to Wilmington because of the site’s location near Interstate 495, potential rail service and access to labor. The Delaware location will serve customers in the multi-state region.
“The City of Wilmington is grateful to Eastern Highway Specialists, a long-time city-based business operated by a proud city family, for its expansion plans, and we welcome Advantage Building Supply to our city from its home base in New Jersey,” said Wilmington Mayor Mike Purzycki. “Both of these projects will provide additional blue-collar employment opportunities, for which we are most appreciative, and signify continued investment in our city, which is critical as we gear up for the post-pandemic period to get all of our businesses thriving at full throttle again. This is welcome news, and we thank DPP for once again helping to enhance our city and provide needed job options for our residents.”
Meanwhile, the Royale Group, Royale Pigments and Chemicals, Shorechem and the AWSM group of companies — a New Jersey-based collection of specialty chemical companies with expertise in distributing, manufacturing, importing, transportation, warehousing and consulting — acquired IMS Chemblend of Bear, DE. After the acquisition, the Royale Group changed the name of the company to AWSM Solutions Delaware. The company sees the acquisition as an opportunity to expand the Royale Group brand and to build on the success of IMS Chemblend. It is now considering expanding operations at the Bear facility by purchasing new equipment and potentially expanding the location by 20,000 square feet. It also is planning on moving its corporate headquarters to the facility.
The company has been working with New Castle County on the improvements and potential expansion. The expansion will allow the company to better serve the specialty chemical, pharmaceutical, janitorial and retail markets.
“Delaware has an educated workforce with skills that we need, a lower cost of living and a government that understands that business development and retention is critical to the success of the state – and it’s a beautiful part of the country,” said John Logue, CEO of the Royale Group. “We are really excited to be in Delaware.”
The CDF reviewed and approved AWSM Solutions Delaware’s request for a Jobs Performance Grant of $99,750 and a Capital Expenditure grant of $30,000 for a total of up $129,750. The Royale Group plans on investing $1 million in capital at the Bear facility as well as adding 17 new jobs. The new positions will include skilled operator positions, product managers, account managers, sales, marketing, environmental health and safety staff and senior management.
“We welcome AWSM Solutions Delaware to Delaware and to New Castle County,” said New Castle County Executive Matt Meyer. “We look forward to working with AWSM to create quality job opportunities in our communities.”
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