October 17, 2013
Grant aids growing company
Northeast Transformer Services expanding at new Preble location
PREBLE — A former Cortland-based company that repairs and refurbishes old transformers for utility companies received a $250,000 state Senate grant Wednesday to help with its recent $2.5 million expansion to a 75,000-square-foot Preble facility.
The grant comes as the latest in a series of efforts by Northeast Transformer Services, the local community and the state to keep the family-owned company in the Cortland area.
“We had been looking at relocating for a while,” said general manager Patrick Kozer, whose father, Gil, is the owner and president of Northeast Transformers. “But we weren’t having much luck locally.”
At that point, Kozer said, the local community began to look for ways to help the company, which Kozer said was actively considering moving to locations in Pennsylvania.
The town of Preble applied for and was awarded a $750,000 grant from the state Office of Community Renewal for the company’s expansion, and the Cortland County Industrial Development Agency reached a payment in lieu of taxes agreement, offering the company substantially reduced property tax rates for the next 10 years.
Northeast Transformers will pay $157,171 over the 10-year agreement. Without it, the company would pay about $450,000.
“It would have been very difficult to keep it here,” said Kozer, without the help of the IDA, the town of Preble and the latest grant. “We definitely wouldn’t have been expanding as much here.”
Kozer said the new state grant would be used to help with moving expenses, as well as the purchase of new equipment. State Sen. Jim Seward secured the grant through the Senate.
Preparations at the new Preble building, the former Bestway facility, began in January, though the actual move did not happen until July. The company is still using some of its old location on Elm Street in Cortland.
“We’ve still got 12 employees over there,” said Kozer, who added that the Cortland facility now focuses primarily on larger transformers.
Business operations have expanded greatly since the move to Preble.
The company has nearly doubled its number of employees from 29 in 2010, to 53, and has also boosted its output.
While operating solely out of its Elm Street location in Cortland, the company worked on about 100 transformers in any given week. Now, Kozer said, that number is up to around 220.
Gil Kozer founded Northeast Transformers in 1999 after Hevi-Duty Electric closed.
Both Kozers were quick to mention Seward for his direct involvement in the effort to secure the Senate grant.
“He really took a personal interest here,” Patrick Kozer said. “He spent a lot of time with us and was very dedicated.”
“We couldn’t be happier about the cooperation we received in our efforts to grow our business in Cortland County,” Gil Kozer said.
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