Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, joined by Senator Tim Kennedy, announced that Unicell, a national and international leader in the designing and manufacturing of bodies for commercial trucks and vans will invest $3.46 million to expand its Howard Street facilities in Buffalo. On the strength of a $175,000 investment package from Empire State Development, Unicell will increase its manufacturing capacity to retain and create over 50 local jobs as part of a green initiative to assemble a cutting edge body for an electric truck.
"Encouraging small business innovation is essential to developing a more vibrant economy that works for Western New York," Governor Cuomo said. "By maximizing our best assets like Unicell, we will empower individual areas to stimulate their local economies and create jobs. This project demonstrates that New York is once again open for business and committed to rebuilding our economy from the ground up."
"We're very grateful for the help from New York state with this work," Unicell Owner and President Roger Martin said. "We're determined to maintain and grow our workforce here in Buffalo and we're very pleased to be part of developing truck technology that does not depend on fossil fuels."
Senator Kennedy said, "Unicell's expansion and enhanced operations to manufacture this unique body as part of a green initiative demonstrates the 21st Century economic vision we need to put people back to work in Western New York. Developing strong small businesses like Unicell is exactly what we need to rebuild a main street economy that will create jobs right here in Buffalo."
ESD President, CEO & Commissioner Kenneth Adams said, "The expansion of Unicell will create jobs and kick-start New York's efforts to win the clean energy race that holds the key to the future of our economy. Thanks to Governor Cuomo's efforts, each region of New York can now chart its own course to economic recovery by optimizing their unique assets to develop a more business-friendly environment and create jobs."
In addition to the $175,000 committed by ESD through its Economic Development Fund (EDF) program, Unicell will also accrue benefits of $728,000 through the New York State Empire Zone Program.
The Unicell group of companies spans the US/Canadian border. Unicell Body Company, Inc. has locations in Buffalo, Rochester and Schenectady, NY, while Unicell Limited is in Toronto. Unicell Body Company took its current name in the early 1980s. Previously named Maday Body and Equipment Corporation, the company was founded in Buffalo in 1907. In 2009, Unicell was awarded a contract with Navistar Incorporated to manufacture a unique body to be assembled onto an electric truck as part of a highly visible green initiative. Navistar was able to embark on this project due to its success at securing a $39 million United States Department of Energy (DOE) grant.
Assemblywoman Crystal Peoples-Stokes said, "Unicell embodies the type of business that we want to attract and retain—small business, innovative and located right in the heart of Buffalo. I'm pleased that the company is choosing to grow here and add valuable jobs to our economy."
Erie County Executive Chris Collins said, "Unicell's expansion in Buffalo reinforces the importance of investing in small businesses. When given the opportunity, small business owners use the appropriate incentives to grow their business, create jobs and build economic opportunity in our community."
City of Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown said, "This announcement shows that Buffalo continues to be a good place for businesses to invest and grow. As Governor Cuomo has said, Buffalo and New York State are open for business."
Empire State Development is New York's chief economic development agency and administrator of the statewide business resource portal New York First (www.NYfirst.NY.gov). The mission of Empire State Development is to promote business investment and growth that leads to job creation and prosperous communities across New York State. ESD also oversees the marketing of "I LOVE NY," the State's iconic tourism brand. For more information on Empire State Development, visit www.esd.ny.gov.