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Bridgestone to build new factory in the Town of Wheatfield

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Niagara County has been selected as the site for a new factory where Bridgestone Automotive Parts Manufacturing will produce car seat components.

Governor Cuomo's office announced Wednesday that Bridgestone APM, a subsidiary of Bridgestone Corporation, will build the new factory on an 11-acre site in the Town of Wheatfield. Employees there will manufacture polyurethane foam for car seats.

"They've promised us initially 60 new jobs," said Henry Sloma, chairman of the Niagara County Industrial Development Agency. "These are good paying jobs. These are manufacturing jobs, which are certainly hard to come by in Western New York. Initially, it should be a real boost for us."

The governor's office, in its written announcement, suggests the job count could increase to 89 within five years.

For Sloma, the job numbers go deeper than metrics. He expressed hope that openings at Bridgestone could be filled by some of the 200 people that will be displaced by Chemours, which recently announced it will close its Niagara Falls reactive metals plant.

"These are families that have hopes and dreams, and they build that on the dollars they bring home in their paychecks," said Sloma. "When that's interrupted, so are the hopes and dreams. Whenever we can bring people, especially new people from outside the area to invest in this community and create jobs and opportunity, that is a huge win for who we are in Western New York."

The new factory is expected to be operational in the first quarter of 2017. 

Michael Mroziak is an experienced, award-winning reporter whose career includes work in broadcast and print media. When he joined the WBFO news staff in April 2015, it was a return to both the radio station and to Horizons Plaza.
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