BY Stephen J. Pytak (Republican-Herald Staff Writer)
Published: July 12, 2013
The Pottsville Republican-Herald
PINE GROVE - A manufacturer of custom, eco-friendly building products that moved to Schuylkill County in 2009 is planning another expansion.
Gov. Tom Corbett announced Thursday that Solar Innovations Inc. in Pine Grove will acquire a 62,000-square-foot office building in Pine Grove Township and create 18 more jobs.
"Keeping my administration's commitment to moving our economy forward continues to send a strong message that Pennsylvania is serious about job creation. As a result of this commitment, companies like Solar Innovations are reinvesting and creating jobs in Pennsylvania," Corbett said in a press release from his office.
Solar Innovations Inc. was established in Hellam, York County, on April 15, 1998.
"From Hellam, we moved to Myerstown in Lebanon County and operated from a former food distribution location," Melissa Reinhart, a company spokeswoman, said Thursday.
In March 2009, it opened its headquarters at the Pine Grove Business Park at 31 Roberts Road, a 150,000-square-foot, two-story facility.
This allowed the company to create 48 manufacturing jobs and bring 68 existing jobs from its former home in Myerstown.
"From that 150,000 square feet, additional mezzanine production was created, expanding operations inside the 31 Roberts Road facility to what is now a state-of-the art, 225,000-square-foot corporate office and manufacturing," Reinhart said.
In June 2011, Solar Innovations expanded by buying a building next door to that facility, 43 Roberts Road, the former Kaytee Products, a 30,000-square-foot building.
Now, Solar will buy 23 Roberts Road, the current StairPak Products corporate office.
"StairPak products, a long-time Pine Grove resident, will continue to operate from a portion of the 23 Roberts Road facility
manufacturing custom curved and spiral stairs as they have for many years," Reinhart said.
All of the company's offices and facilities are located in Pine Grove, she said.
What's the secret to the company's success?
"We serve our customers well," Reinhart said.
Reinhart wasn't certain how many customers they had over the years but said, "Over 15 years, we have 52,000 names in our database.
"Solar's 15 years of continuous growth is based on the successful expansion of product line. From the humble beginnings of aluminum sunrooms, Solar has expanded to provide operable and decorative structure accessories, specialty operable doors and windows, unique overhead glazing solutions, glass railings and many more unique products. Solar's latest building purchase was primarily based on the product line's expansion to include wood windows, doors and curtain walls," Reinhart said.
A loan from the state Industrial Development Authority will make this latest expansion project possible, according to the press release from the governor.
This year, the Industrial Development Authority approved $40.6 million in low-interest loans that have resulted in $70.3 million in private investment and supported 9,500 jobs.
The authority provides capital for building acquisition, construction and renovation work, primarily for manufacturers, industrial
developers, research and development firms, agricultural processors and employers looking to establish national or regional headquarters in Pennsylvania.
The authority will provide a $520,000, 15-year, low-interest loan at 1.5 percent to the Schuylkill Economic Development Corp. on behalf of Solar Innovations, according to the release.
Greg Header, president of Solar Innovations Inc., could not be reached for comment Thursday.