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Cataract City welcomes revitalized $12M plastics plant

For well over a century, Tulip Molded Plastics Corporation and its predecessors have been on Highland Avenue in Niagara Falls. The company is now in a $12 million new plant using old plastics to make new molded plastics.

Tulip showed off the plant Wednesday, a 125,000-square-foot demonstration of how a skilled workforce can persuade a corporation to replace an existing plant with a new one because the workers are so good at what they do.

"Many of us stood about 200 feet from here, off to my right and we celebrated the groundbreaking of this facility," said Tulip CEO Craig Kellogg. "Now, it's a reality. Jon Williams and the OSC team. I can't believe. Less than a year and look around. We have all a brand new plant, all new equipment."

The old plant was worn, tired and no longer efficient. Kellogg pitched staying there to his board of directors and it decided to go with the new plant.

OSC built the new plant in less than a year with all-new plastics production equipment and leased it to Tulip. OSC  CEO Jon Williams said it was that workforce that saved the plant.
"If you looked at it on paper, Niagara Falls might not be geographically the best spot to locate this facility. When I started off with the employees, I think that's what Craig and his board of directors and the management came to, was that the value in those people offset the costs that you might realize in transportation and other things and it led to the decision to stay here." Williams said.

Some new workers are already coming on board to work with the shiny new manufacturing machinery. Most plant workers are members of the United Auto Workers.

"The whole community prospers when manufacturing jobs no longer leave," said UAW Region 9 Director Terry Dittes. "In this case, would have been another state. In most cases, it's overseas. It's nothing but a victory. So, today is a great victory."

OSC also did a $25 million state brownfield environmental cleanup of a much larger site to make way for Tulip and potentially other companies. The Tulip building is designed to be expanded if the market for its molded plastics, like car battery cases, expands.

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.