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Laddawn Corp. to add Sparks manufacturing operations

Rob Sabo

After more than a year of searching, plastic film and bag maker Laddawn of Devens, Mass. found a suitable location for a manufacturing facility at 650 Lillard Drive in Sparks and plans to begin limited production in March.

Laddawn has operated a distribution facility in Sparks for the past decade and had been seeking a suitable location for a western region manufacturing facility for the past 18 months, says Owen Richardson, vice president of marketing and sales. However, the company’s search was hampered by its need for certain height clearances for its manufacturing processes, rail access, and the fact that Laddawn wished to buy a building instead of paying rent.

The new facility allows Laddawn to increase its storage capacity in Sparks, which had been getting close to full, Richardson says, as well as shave transportation costs and lead times. Laddawn operates additional manufacturing facilities in Sterling, Mass., Dallas and Manchester, Iowa. The company also has a warehouse facility in Atlanta that is ready for manufacturing, Richardson says. Products for the Sparks distribution facility have come from Dallas or Manchester, Iowa.

“Just having the extra capacity will be great for ourselves as well as our distributors,” Richardson says. “They will be able to order from a place that can manufacture in their backyard, and it will be much less time rather than wait for it from Dallas or Iowa.”

Laddawn sells its products, which are used for custom packaging, through a national network of more than 3,000 distributors, from large companies to small family-owned businesses. The company had been subsidizing freight costs for some orders to compete on pricing and build its western region business. Richardson says the Sparks operation is expected to become a round-the-clock operation once full production begins.

Laddawn expects to employ about a dozen manufacturing workers, a number that should double over the following year as more equipment comes online.

“It is an exciting time for us,” he says. “Several years ago we added the Iowa facility which runs 24/7, and the new facility in Sparks is expected to follow the same path. When we look at Sparks as percentage of our sales, we already see it growing. We have been able to invest in our business, and it is doing well and continues to grow in huge steps.”

Laddawn had looked at the 100,559-square-foot facility in Sparks earlier and re-visited the property when costs came more in line with their expectations, says James Lowey, vice president of Morrissey Realty, which assisted Laddawn in its search.

“They certainly have been looking for quite a while, and they even extended their search East a ways after running into roadblocks in Reno and Sparks,” Lowey says. “I think the largest issue was that there are very few buildings that fit their needs.”

Richardson says the process of manufacturing polyethylene film requires height clearances of several stories, and the company also needed rail access as it uses several hundred rail cars full of resins each year.

Laddawn’s expansion represents an estimated one-year economic impact of $2.5 million, the Economic Development Authority of Western Nevada says. Other local entities that assisted Laddawn with its expansion efforts include the Nevada Commission on Economic Development, the City of Sparks and Washoe County.

“The Sparks facility provides all the things we need in a new facility, including ample warehouse and high-bay production space, a friendly community and an able workforce,” Laddawn Co-president Ladd Lavalllee says. “The acquisition marks the end of a productive year of strong sales growth and expansion.”