POTSDAM — Until about three months ago, the commerce building at 6 Pioneer Drive was mostly vacant.
Now, the 12,000 square-foot facility is filled with equipment, buzzing with activity and gearing up for more production.
In early June, From the Heart Cabinetry, moved its operation into the sprawling building off Route 11 B.
The family-owned company has a 15-year lease purchase agreement to buy the building for $650,000 from St. Lawrence County’s Industrial Development Agency.
The facility is more than twice as large as the previous 3,600-square-foot shop used to produce custom-made cabinets.
The extra space has allowed Eric Criscitello, FTH Cabinetry owner, to purchase large equipment that makes the wood-processing part of the cabinet making process much more efficient. It also provides the higher volume of electricity the company needs.
“This is a big growth for us. We have to kind of adjust and adapt to this,” he said. “As far as growth, the idea is grow into this size building. I think the work is out there. I’ve been turning it down for a lot of years. It’s a very good thing.”
IDA Executive Director Patrick J. Kelly said the project will help move the IDA building onto the tax rolls and should also create five more jobs.
“This expansion helps From the Heart Cabinetry increase their manufacturing capacity and is an ideal use for this building,” Mr. Kelly said. “We are very excited to be working with another strong local company that is making an absolutely top quality product in St. Lawrence County.”
Mr. Criscitello learned the craft from his father, Rit, who started it about 31 years ago. He now owns the business with his wife, Lisa, and their son, Timothy. The couple resides in Potsdam and has 10 children ranging in age from 6 to 21.
Five other people are employed by the company, four full-time and one part-time.
Besides producing customized cabinets for homes, FTH Cabinetry, has done commercial work for Canton-Potsdam Hospital, St. Lawrence University, Canton, and other entities.
The larger facility should allow the commercial side of the business to expand, he said.
“For the past five years we were so busy with cabinetry work we kind of snuck away from commercial work. Now that we’ve moved in here, we’ve added our commercial work back in,” Mr. Criscitello said.
FTH Cabinetry will lease the building for the first two years and then convert to a lease purchase agreement. After making payments over a 15-year period the company will own the building.
Mr. Kelly said the company is investing nearly $100,000 into the facility including building a paint booth, dust collection systems and power upgrades for equipment,
The owners were awarded $95,000 toward the project from the New York Power Authority’s Northern New York Economic Development Fund.
Following a public hearing held in February, the IDA approved a Payment in Lieu of Taxes agreement for the company.
For the past three years, the company has been leasing some space in the building for storage.