BELLOWS FALLS >> In an expansion that could add up to 26 jobs to the local economy, the Brattleboro Development Credit Corporation and the town of Rockingham announced a new development project with Chroma Technology Corporation.
The process is expected to expand Chroma's footprint in Bellows Falls by 40,000 square feet at its existing Imtec Drive location.
"This is a wonderful result after several years of collaboration and discussion with the Town of Rockingham, the Bellows Falls Area Development Corporation and Chroma about the possibilities of relocation or expansion," said Rockingham Town Manager Willis "Chip" Stearns. "We are pleased Chroma has made this decision and the Select Board supports this project."
Chroma Technology Corp. is an employee-owned company and a leading manufacturer and designer of sputter-coated optical filters and optical filter sets for the ultra-violet, visible and near-infrared portions of the spectrum, including bandpass, longpass, shortpass filters, beamsplitters, dichroic mirrors and laser rejection filters used in applications such as fluorescence microscopy, raman spectroscopy, astronomy, multicolor FISH and machine vision for markets such as life science, industrial, military and defense.
"After several years of steady growth Chroma has been experiencing another surge in demand for our products," said Paul Millman CEO and President of Chroma. "Our sales grew by over 20 percent last year. Our capacity needs to grow to meet this demand."
Millman noted Chroma first looked at relocating in downtown Bellows Falls but ultimately concluded that it could not do so on a timeline that would meet its needs.
"We're an employee-owned company and as such feel a deep connection to the community we operate in. We didn't want to leave our community so we chose the next best option of expanding at our current location. As employee-owners, and as a B corporation, our decision making is informed by more than just financial considerations. Our decision to expand reflects our commitment to meeting our customers' needs. Choosing to expand at our current location reflects our commitment to the community and to our employees."
The total combined investment in the expansion project is expected to be in the $18 to $19 million dollar range. A number of private and public financing tools will be utilized including a $100,000 loan from the town of Rockingham and a $350,000 Community Development Block Grant application recently made by Rockingham on Chroma's behalf.
Chroma has also applied for approximately $750,000 in Vermont Employment Growth Incentive program (VEGI) funding which requires maintaining base payroll and employment, creating incremental, qualifying payroll and jobs and making qualified capital investments prior to receiving the incentive. An application for New Market Tax Credits, and Windham County Economic Development Funding is also expected.
"We are pleased to have this opportunity to be working with the town of Rockingham and the BFADC, to ensure this critical Chroma expansion in Rockingham happens," noted BDCC Executive Director Adam Grinold. "Chroma has been a leading innovator in the optics and filters field for 25 years. This project is required for the company to remain competitive in a global marketplace."
Grinold said BDCC is providing leadership in efforts to identify and assemble a number of appropriate federal, state and local supports to accommodate the decision by Chroma to expand in Vermont.
"Similar to the development project we coordinated for G.S. Precision, Inc., the Chroma project is further demonstration of the region's increased capacity for financing and developing very large projects."