Kunzler plans building project

$4M expansion will add 16-20 jobs

TYRONE — Kunzler & Co. plans to embark on a $4 million expansion project at its Snyder Township plant, which will lead to the addition of 16 to 20 new jobs.

“The expansion is needed for the bacon business. We are constantly taking on more and more volume. We will build an addition on the Tyrone side of the plant,” said Dave Grazier, plant general manager.

The project calls for a 12,000-square-foot addition and a 3,000-square-foot loading dock.

“It will be a warehouse for dry storage, there will be a freezer unit to hold pork bellies and a pressing room. This will enable us to take the presses in the slicing room and move them to allow us to add slicers,” Grazier said. “It will also include a cart wash area and a cart storage area. We have dry storage and raw belly storage in the plant now. We will vacate the dry storage in the plant and put in the new facility. We will take the dry storage in the older plant and make it new storage. We will double our size for raw storage.”

Blair County Planning Commission members Thursday approved a letter of support for Kunzler to obtain a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit needed for the project.

Grazier hopes the project can begin in May or June.

“We hope to be under roof by November, it is about a nine-month project. We hope to be finished in early 2019,” Grazier said.

Meanwhile, Grazier said as the bacon business continues to grow, Kunzler will be adding another 15 employees the second week of March.

“We have 190 employees today, will have 205 in two weeks, and this (expansion) will bring us up to about 225,” Grazier said. “I am excited about it; we are very innovative on how we do growth here. This will give us the ability to grow volume and add about 5 million pounds of capacity to our bacon processing. Since I’ve been here, I’ve see us grow from about 35 to 190 (employees) and looking forward to 225 or so.”

The expansion project is good news, said President and CEO Joe Hurd of the Blair County Chamber of Commerce.

“From the moment Kunzler arrived here, they’ve been an outstanding employer. Their products are first-rate, and they’ve embraced the opportunity to be good community citizens, even though they’re headquartered elsewhere. Dave Grazier, their GM, is a local guy with a strong willingness to get involved on boards and in economic development efforts. It’s great to see successful businesses continuing to invest here,” Hurd said.

Plans for the expansion project have to yet to come to the planning commission for review, but planning commission members gave a positive review to another Kunzler project — a parking lot development plan along Lucas Street and Garden Avenue.

The project calls for a 31-space paved parking lot for employees. Additionally, a lot merger is proposed between two parcels that comprise the site and a 0.213-acre portion of the adjacent Lucas Street into a single 0.81 acre lot.

Prior to construction, an existing residence and accompanying structures will be demolished, said Jamie L. Klink, community planner.

The estimated $35,000 to $40,000 parking lot project is expected to be completed in the next couple of months.

“This will create some extra space for us during the expansion project. It is two separate projects, but they are connected,” Grazier said.

Mirror Staff Writer Walt Frank is at 946-7467.