BELLOWS FALLS -- Sonnax Industries has announced it recently obtained a third village facility to add to its arsenal of headquarters and distribution centers.
The employee-owned company purchased a former manufacturing space from Chroma Technology Corp. on July 7 and will utilize the location to hold the business' research and development teams. The new facility, at 10 Spencer Drive, is a quarter-mile away from Sonnax' two existing sites.
According to a statement from Sonnax, the newly acquired building contains 26,000 square feet that will be used for the company's engineering, product line management and technical support squads.
Steve Jaussaud, the Sonnax senior vice president of product development, said representatives from Sonnax and Chroma had been talking for just a few months before the deal was finalized. He said Chroma had purchased the site out of bankruptcy.
"We had the need and the money," he said, adding that Sonnax' employees seem excited about the news. "We have plans to hire more people but we had no place to put them, and now we will. ... It's going to allow us to do what we already do pretty well even better.
"It's great for Sonnax and it's great for the area," he continued.
The facility will soon be renovated to accommodate dedicated shop, testing and quality control areas, in addition to office space for roughly 35 employees. Space currently used in other Sonnax buildings for these activities will be freed up to make room for growth in other areas of the company.
Chroma President Paul Millman said his company sold the facility because it had no use for it and Sonnax wanted it. He declined to say how much it sold for.
"It happened in a couple of months and I'm glad it did," he said.
Chroma is interested in moving from its current location at 10 Imtec Lane to the section of the village known as The Island. He said the sale to Sonnax generated capital for Chroma, though it won't necessarily be used for the project because the project is still in the beginning stages.
At a public meeting in Bellows Falls earlier this month, Millman said Chroma is a worldwide leader in the manufacturing of optic filters and those in charge of the Bellows Falls location want to move to The Island to have more space and to be in a spot where employees can walk to work.
Jaussaud said Sonnax creates high-precision parts for the automotive aftermarket, as opposed to parts for companies that make brand-new vehicles. He said most of Sonnax' products pertain to automatic transmission.
Domenic Poli can be reached at email@example.com, or 802-254-2311, ext. 277. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoli_reformer.