Ecoclean boosts Copiague expansion

Doubling down on a green cleaning-products manufacturer planning a Copiague expansion was an easy call for the Suffolk County Industrial Development Agency.

The IDA, which in December approved a 10-year, $160,600 aid package that would help Farmingdale-based Ecoclean Solutions Inc. relocate to a new Copiague complex, last week voted to tweak that package, sweetening the pot to $258,700 in tax breaks over 12 years.

Ecoclean Solutions, which produces environmentally friendly cleaning products under the Green Gobbler brand, needed the extra assistance because its expansion plans have changed. Originally targeting a 21,440-square-foot facility on Oak Street, the company opted to also purchase a neighboring 8,250-square-foot building when the owner of the two buildings insisted on selling them together.

The additional expense pushed the projected cost of Ecoclean Solutions’ expansion project past $2.5 million, necessitating an extra assist from the Suffolk IDA. In return, Ecoclean agreed to double the number of permanent jobs it creates in Copiague – from five to 10, all within the next two years – while continuing to employ a staff of 10 independent-contractor sales representatives. The company’s manufacturing operations are based in Arkansas.

Providing the extra boost, noted Suffolk IDA Executive Director Tony Catapano, was a no-brainer. With its multistate operations, a thriving online business, a top-flight retail network including The Home Depot, Ace Hardware, QVC, Amazon and Bed, Bath & Beyond, the circa-2010 startup “is precisely the type of small business the IDA wants to help,” Catapano told Innovate LI.

“They are relocating some out-of-state business operation into the project, which makes it more attractive to us,” the exec noted. “And that they’re increasing the scope of their investment in Suffolk only makes this project more attractive.”

Revisiting and sometimes increasing the scope of completed tax-incentive deals is not uncommon in the industrial-development world, Catapano added.

“IDAs operate in the larger climate of real estate and construction transactions,” he said. “Variations and changes are par for the course and impact the IDA’s work quite regularly.”

The beefed-up tax package may actually wind up creating more Suffolk County jobs than just the 10 Ecoclean Solutions has promised. Ecoclean President Eric Sternberg told the IDA in December the company eventually planned to move its Arkansas manufacturing operations to Copiague.

Sternberg also told IDA officials that a sister company with which Ecoclean shares its Nassau County headquarters – Century Manufacturing Corp., which supplies cleaning products for commercial and government clients – would also eventually bring its operations, and roughly 36 jobs, to the site.