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LOCKPORT – The oldest industrial firm in Lockport applied for a 15-year tax break Thursday to help finance an addition to its plant.

Gooding Co., a 137-year-old printing firm, plans a $900,000 expansion of its plant in Ulrich Business Park off the south end of Davison Road.

Company president Jerry Hace went before the board of the Town of Lockport Industrial Development Agency to seek a payment-in-lieu-of-taxes, or PILOT, arrangement that would save the company an estimated $147,000 over the next 15 years.

The IDA set a public hearing and a probable vote on the request for 8 a.m. June 13 in its office in the Town Hall annex.

Hace said he’s looked into other locations, but his preference would be to remain in Lockport.

“I do have options elsewhere,” he said. “I’ve got to do what I’ve got to do from a business standpoint.”

The company, which now specializes in inserts placed in prescription drug packages, moved from the City of Lockport into the town in 1999. The IDA granted a PILOT for that move; IDA board member Duncan Carlson said it saved Gooding $270,000.

IDA Chairman Thomas A. Sy said Gooding has outperformed the promises it made when it received its first PILOT. It projected 26 employees and now has 34, Sy said.

The new plan calls for adding 12,500 to 15,000 square feet to the existing 16,500-square-foot plant. Hace said it would more than double the actual production space in the building.

The company added several new machines in the past year, as its sales have risen by 20 percent in the last two years and now approach $6.5 million a year, Hace said.

He has a $250,000 printing and folding machine on order, and plans to add six more employees.

The company is running three shifts, five days a week, and does some work on weekends, too. Hace says he needs two people on each machine, one to load and one to unload.

Hace said starting pay is about $11 an hour, with veteran workers earning hourly wages in the “high teens.”

The inserts that Gooding prints are sent to physicians and pharmacists, generally not to consumers. Gooding currently has a machine that can fold a 38-by-20-inch piece of paper into 210 tiny squares; new equipment would improve that.

Gooding still has some long-standing contracts for consumer packaging, but it has signed nothing but pharmaceutical printing contracts since it moved to the town, Hace said.

The addition would cover about one acre of the 2.5 acres of open land Gooding owns behind its plant.

email: tprohaska@buffnews.com