WASHINGTON—Chiorino Americas has seen continued growth since the opening of its new headquarters in Suwanee, Ga.
The 52,000-sq.-ft. facility opened in 2018 and now supports a brand new team of 12, President Bert Flieger said at the NIBA annual meeting, which was held recently at the Gaylord National Hotel in Washington.
Chiorino built the facility through an investment of more than $1 million and moved into the headquarters from its Newark, Del., location, Flieger said. It will continue to maintain both its Newark and Dallas locations, neither of which has seen any reduction in staff with the move. The new headquarters has been the center of the company's growth, but still has open room for expansion.
"All the investments that we've made in the organization in the U.S., the training that we're doing with our distributors … is really paying off in building trust, and loyalty and partnerships," Flieger said. "Last year was a very good year, and this year we're also continuing to make progress."
Since the Suwanee facility, which manufactures belting products, opened last year, Chiorino has added a longitudinal press, an automated perforating machine with a width capability of about 10 feet, additional fastener lacing equipment and additional storage racks. The firm is growing faster than the general belting market is growing, which is by design, Flieger said.
"Chiorino was not the most active or well-known brand on the market, and we're changing that," Flieger said. "Now the market is becoming aware of the commitment that we're making and also the products that we have."
One of its newly introduced products is a food-grade rubber folding carton belt, which has applications with companies that buy boxes that touch food, such as McDonald's French fries, he said. Those end-users have been pushing suppliers to provide more food-grade compliant materials. Food applications make up the biggest market for Chiorino, and its biggest market potential. It also has focuses on paper and packaging, which also has some crossover with the food-grade rubber folding carton belt, along with material handling, including warehouse and distribution center applications.
"We're in a position where we're getting so much more exposure and building the brand," Flieger said. "We've become a very viable, good alternative in the market where maybe people didn't see Chiorino before."
Chiorino is continuing to develop from that initial investment, looking for additional opportunities to increase productivity and efficiency, he said. For example, bringing the Suwanee location online took enough pressure off the Newark facility to increase productivity by 17 percent this year.
The company also is reconnecting with its parent company, Chiorino Group based in Italy, to take another look at its current five-year plan, now in its second year. Together, they'll rework the plan and develop a follow-up five year plan, he said.
"Chiorino, the family, is very committed to continued growth in the U.S., so we have all the support we need from them," Flieger said. "We're continuing with a lot of interest in our company and products. It's been really good."