Business expansions

WESTFIELD – Pierogi production will soon be under way in Westfield after a major collaborative effort to attract startup Rae Foods, Inc. to Chautauqua County. Owners Rachelle McFeely and Beverly Braley recently closed on the purchase of their new 15,000-square foot facility at 75 Bourne St. for their “Nowinski Pierogi” manufacturing operation. The facility should be fully operational by early October, once significant renovations are completed.

McFeely, president and owner of Rae Foods stated, “We are really excited about our new facility in Westfield. Our business is based on Christian principles of honesty, integrity, hard work and kindness. We look forward to growing the business together with our employees.”

McFeely went on to explain that the opportunity came about when Nowinski’s owners were ready to retire. She and business partner Beverly Braley were familiar with the production process from past employment and were interested in starting their own business. A search ensued for locations in Eastern Pennsylvania, where they currently reside, or Chautauqua County. Once they saw this site in Westfield they knew it was “the one.”

McFeely continued, “We really appreciated all of the support we received from economic development groups to politicians and Westfield officials. Being from Pennsylvania we were unfamiliar with the local area and what was available to us. Everyone’s support was a tremendous help and made us comfortable with choosing a location out of state.”

Bill Daly, CCIDA administrative director and CEO provided the background stating, “This is such a great story. The referral came from real estate agent Bill Carlson of Howard Hanna Holt Real Estate to Aaron Resnick, executive director of the Westfield Development Corporation, who engaged the CCIDA. We then launched a review of local and state economic incentives available to attract the company to New York state. Elected officials from the Federal level all the way to the local level were engaged together and led the charge in providing support and resources to Beverly and Rachelle at every turn. I would especially like to note the assistance provided by County Executive Greg Edwards, New York State Senator Catharine Young, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, Westfield Mayor Michael VandeVelde, former Mayor David Carr, and of course the tireless effort of Aaron Resnick of the Westfield Development Corporation.”

Through actions taken by the CCIDA Board of Directors the company will receive a 10-year Payment in Lieu of Tax (PILOT) schedule, $640,000 in AL Tech Revolving Loan Fund financing for working capital, machinery and equipment, abatement of sales tax during the construction period and also abatement of mortgage recording tax. Additional economic incentives were also approved by Empire State Development.

Aaron Resnick offered congratulations and gratitude to the owners for choosing Westfield as their location. “Representing the Westfield Development Corporation and its board of directors, I am thrilled to welcome Rae Foods, Inc. to Westfield. It has been a pleasure working with the Rae Foods executive team, in partnership with local, state and county representatives and economic development agencies to bring together the necessary real estate, financing and incentives to support the establishment of this exciting new business venture.”

Many in Western New York are already familiar with the Pennsylvania brand of Nowinski Pierogi, which are currently sold as six varieties in local corner markets: potato and cheddar, potato and sauerkraut (kapusta), potato and roasted garlic, potato with cheddar and jalapeno, sauerkraut, and cheese.

Commenting about the project, Edwards said, “With a name already known to many in Western New York, we are excited that Nowinski brand pierogi will now be produced right here in Chautauqua County, creating significant new jobs for the local economy. This is a big win for us and another excellent job coordinating assistance and incentives by the CCIDA.”

Federal and state elected officials were also involved in the project, providing support and resources to the new company. Gillibrand stated, “Nowinski Pierogi has made a wise choice in locating their production facilities in Westfield, and I thank them for investing in Western New York’s economy,” Gillibrand continued, “This welcome addition to Westfield’s industrial corridor can bring up to 50 jobs to the area, and I am confident that Nowinski Pierogi will be thrilled with our dedicated and skilled workforce in Chautauqua County.”

Young also extended congratulations saying, “Food industries are economic drivers in our region, and it is exciting to have Rae Foods as the newest manufacturing company in Westfield. Everyone loves pierogi, especially when it means that we are gaining more than 50 new full-time, permanent jobs. We are grateful to the company for their entrepreneurial spirit and $2.5 million investment in our economy. State and local economic development officials worked together to make this venture a reality, with a nearly $275,000 incentive from the state. It is a delicious outcome in very many ways.”

Once Nowinski Pierogi is fully operational it is projected that 13 new jobs will be created in the first year with up to 50 new jobs created in five years.

The CCIDA is an economic development organization authorized and empowered by the New York state to make Chautauqua County a better place to work, live and visit. They facilitate development by attracting new businesses, while promoting the retention and expansion of existing businesses. Assistance in the form of incentives tax abatements, low interest loans, and bond financing enhances the opportunities for job creation and retention by our businesses. For more information visit www.ccida.com.

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