CERRITOS, Calif.—When Specialty Silicone Fabricators was looking to expand and build new facilities twice in the last decade, rather than going elsewhere, it remained in California.
Specialty Silicone—like the other California-based firms that participated in Rubber & Plastics News roundtable at R.D. Abbott Co. Inc.'s headquarters in Cerritos—decided that the benefits of being a manufacturer in California still outweighed the negatives.
In 2005, the 200-person supplier of mostly medical-related goods moved a factory from Santa Ana, Calif., to nearby Tustin, largely because it wanted to retain its staff, said Chris Mazelin, the firm's marketing manager and son of one of its founders.
“Management said they wanted to stay within this radius because we want all the people to stay,” he said. “After six buildings and a solid year of searching, we ended up in Tustin. It's interesting how that drove the decision.”
Then, in 2010, Specialty Silicone was looking to replace its complex in Paso Robles, Calif., where it had three buildings encompassing 75,000 square feet of space. “That would have been the time to move,” Mazelin said.
In fact, other states did put on a recruiting push to lure the high-tech firm away from California. “You had states like Texas that at the time we built this building in Paso, they would have literally given us a building built to suit,” he said. “Instead of us spending $13 million on a building, they would have given me a $13 million building and tax incentives for 10 years for us to move the business there. The whole state of Texas, they want your business.”
Yet, Specialty Silicone stayed put, building a 100,000-sq-ft. complex on the site of its prior factories. Mazelin said the company had a good relationship with Paso Robles officials, and its facilities were on airport property owned and managed by the city. Besides help from the city in getting the necessary approvals—a difficult proposition in California—there were other reasons Specialty Silicone remained in Paso Robles.
“There's too much potential here,” Mazelin said. “When covering the West Coast as a sales person, hands down it was the highest producing sales territory from the standpoint of new business development. There are more new ideas in the medical device industry coming out of the Bay Area than the rest of the country combined.”