Rolling Roof Sludge Boxes await pickup at Custom Container Solutions.

A steel container manufacturer in the Lewisburg area looks to expand its market share and to do so, it’s moving to a vacant plant at the Milton Industrial Park and adding 36 new jobs.

Custom Container Solutions (CCS) purchased the former Crest Homes building at 201 N. Industrial Park Road and committed to investing at least $5.5 million in its expansion, according to a press release from the office of Gov. Tom Wolf.

Hiring will begin in early 2020 with the new plant set to be operational by the end of next March, according to Todd Vonderheid, managing member/CEO of CCS.

“We believe we can significantly increase our market share in the Mid-Atlantic if we have the production capacity to meet demand. The new property in Milton is 120,000 square feet of production space,” Vonderheid said.

CCS manufactures industrial-sized roll-off containers and other varieties for recycling, waste, environmental services and scrap. It employs welders, machine operators and fabricators, painters and material handlers: 42 at its plant at 391 Wolfland Road, Buffalo Township, Union County, and another 18 in Hadley, Mercer County.

The Hadley workers will remain in Mercer County while the Union County workers will move to the Milton Industrial Park, according to the governor’s press release.

“Pennsylvania has a long, rich history in steel manufacturing, and this project is a testament to the industry’s strength, despite recent challenges it has faced,” Wolf said. “The commonwealth welcomes Custom Container Solutions to Northumberland County and looks forward to decades of continued industry growth and history to be made.”

The state provided grants valued at $50,000 and $21,600, respectively, to aid the transition and provide workforce training and development. The company also was encouraged to apply for a low-interest $2.75 million loan from the Pennsylvania Industrial Development Authority to assist with equipment costs and renovations.

Tea Jay Aikey, president and CEO of the Central PA Chamber of Commerce, noted the relocation and expansion "would not have been possible without the KOZ designation that the Central Pennsylvania Chamber of Commerce spearheaded and worked on for months to obtain." KOZ is the Keystone Opportunity Zone tax abatement program operated by the state.

The Buffalo Township plant measures at 23,000 square feet. It will close in spring and be marketed for sale, Vonderheid said. The location is surrounded by viable farmland and isn’t suitable for expansion, he added.

“We have scaled the business to a point that we need the electrical, natural gas, internet and water infrastructure only found in an industrial park setting,” Vonderheid said.

CCS will occupy 80,000 square feet at the new site in Milton, Vonderheid said, allowing for more than triple the space for production, new complementary product lines, storage for raw materials and yard space for more ideal storage of finished product.

“The new facility will give us the space and tools necessary to make our manufacturing process easier and less physically demanding and that will increase the longevity and compensation levels of our employees,” Vonderheid said.

While CCS will occupy two-thirds of the building, the remaining 40,000 square feet will be available for lease to other commercial tenants, he said.

CCS formed through the acquisition of Stoltzfus Steel Manufacturing, Buffalo Township, in 2011 and later in 2017, Valley Can Inc. in Hadley. Its products are shipped across North America.

“We want to thank the economic development resources in our region and the commonwealth who have provided critical assistance. Since the day we started this project, everyone from the Chamber, to the Milton Borough, School District, County, IMC, SEDA-COG, Senator (John) Gordner, Representative (Lynda) Culver, DEP and the Governor’s Action Team have been easy to work with and made our decision to headquarter and focus our growth in Central PA easy and the right decision,” Vonderheid said.

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