Jiffy-Tite Corp., a Lancaster auto parts manufacturer, is planning a $10 million expansion that could lead to the creation of 80 new jobs over the next five years.
The expansion would allow the Walden Avenue company to expand its current line of automotive fittings and also help the company with its ongoing push to broaden its business into new markets beyond the auto industry and also expand its international operations.
To help finance the expansion, the company is seeking a variety of state incentives, from Excelsior tax credits to low-cost electricity through the Recharge NY program, said company President Michael Rayhill.
But Rayhill also said the company has not made a final decision to do the expansion in Western New York. The company, which has 130 employees at its 57,000-square-foot Lancaster factory and another 19 at a 32,400-square-foot machining facility in Batavia, also has been courted by development officials in four other states.
“There are a lot of opportunities to expand,” Rayhill said Monday. “We’ve got to decide where we want to do it.”
Jiffy-Tite has rebounded sharply from the hard times that hit the entire auto industry when the recession struck five years ago. Its sales, which had reached about $32 million in 2007, were cut almost in half over the next two years, bottoming out at $18 million in 2009.
Those plunging sales caused the company to take drastic steps to ride out the downturn. The company eliminated its second shift and slashed its work force by a third, going from 150 employees in 2007 to 98 in 2009. Among the layoffs was the son of company owner Steve Zillig.
But as the auto industry has rebounded, so has Jiffy-Tite. Its workforce is back to its prerecession level, and Rayhill said he expects the company to finish the year with around $45 million in sales.
Since the recession, Jiffy-Tite has been trying to diversify. The company has introduced new products – such as oil thermostats, connections for turbocharger systems and quick-connect equipment for the liquid propane gas and compressed natural gas markets – and is trying to become a bigger player in the replacement parts market.
“This facility, right here, is an example of an American success story,” said Rep. Kathleen C. Hochul, D-Hamburg, who joined Rayhill and State Sen. Patrick Gallivan, R-Elma, during a news conference at the Jiffy-Tite plant.