Local tablet maker tripling in size
The co-owner of Bak USA is praising the City of Buffalo, the University at Buffalo and the state's Start-Up NY program for fueling his company's "unbelievably fast" growth in such a short time. J.P. and Ulla Bak started the mobile computer manufacturing facility in March 2014 and is already planning to triple its floor space and add another 125 jobs over the next year. "We went through the whole Start-Up NY approval procedure, we created a collaboration agreement with the University at Buffalo, we found our location for our facility and we produced the first tablet in December same year," J.P Bak told WBFO.
The electronics maker is located on Buffalo's East Side in the former Sheehan Memorial Hospital on Michigan Avenue. Since McGuire Development took over the building, it has become a mixed-use space that includes a variety of businesses and residential units.
Bak said his business is currently 12,000 square feet on the first floor. It will be taking over the fourth floor to create a new clean room and expanding into the basement to create a new components assembly room. He says the expansion will mean a total of 38,000 square feet for Bak USA.
"We are going to do this motherboard mounting process, which is very expensive. It's a very, very big investment," said Bak. "But the fact that we are actually mounting the components and then on top of that we assemble the whole device in Buffalo, we think that that qualifies accurately to actually be the first company to say 'Made in USA'."
Bak said the expansion is being fueled by a new contract with Microsoft and Intel to make mobile device components and will require a new branding strategy to promote the fact that their tablets are "as made in the USA as much as possible." That is rare in the global electronics marketplace and attractive to consumers in countries such as China, he said. Bak hopes the company's business model becomes a spearhead for the rest of the electronics industry.