By Jessica Bagley email@example.com
The Tonawanda News
Tonawanda News — A major distributor of specialty food and confections will build a $17 million center in the North Youngmann Commerce Center, becoming the first company to announce plans to move to the town’s new business park.
Wythe Will Tzetzo, which is based in Williamsburg, Va., currently leases a building on Military Road in the town, the company’s CEO, Gordon Angles, said.
“The facility we have there is 215,000 square feet, but it is a very old building,” he said. “We are just out of space and need to relocate.”
The new structure will encompass 310,000 square feet of manufacturing, production and office space.
“In addition to the warehouse, we use the production area to repack and blend various confections, which are bagged under private labels for various retail customers around the office,” Angles said, noting that the company has more than 1,500 customers — including Wegmans and Tops Markets.
Wythe Will Tzetzo, which started business in 1961, currently employs 220 people in the Buffalo area, and will hire an additional 25 to 35 people over the course of the next two to three years as a result of the expansion.
Angles said the company considered a number of other locations for the new center — including Virginia, California, Tennessee and Ohio — but the existing workforce in Tonawanda won Angles over.
“It really came back to the base of trained employees we have in the Buffalo area,” Angles said. “We have a good staff, and we are excited to continue there.”
The company has hired Zaepfel, out of Williamsville, to build the structure. Construction is set to begin Nov. 1, and Angles said he hopes the move will be completed in November 2014. The Erie County Industrial Development Agency will consider incentives for the project at a meeting next month.
The town is in the midst of completing infrastructure improvements to the 92-acre commerce site, which sits just north of the Youngmann near East Park Drive and Two Mile Creek. About $2.8 million of work is being done, but the town was reimbursed for much of that cost through grant funds.
The construction includes adding road, bridge and water lines. The new road, which will include a roundabout, will lead to the first town-owned vehicular bridge. The bridge will then connect to Two Mile Creek at a new intersection.
The work is set to be complete by the end of September.
Town Supervisor Anthony Caruana said he is thrilled that the company chose Tonawanda for its expansion. The town first heard of the company’s interest in early July, but at that time, Wythe Will Tzetzo hadn’t committed to the town yet.
“We are ecstatic, it is really exciting,” he said, noting that the town hasn’t even advertised the property yet. “The company is already established in the town, and they will be our first tenants at the site. We are glad to keep them here .”
Contact reporter Jessica Bagley at 693-1000 ext. 4150, or follow her on Twitter @JessicaLBagley.