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Bedford getting Tram Bar

BEDFORD — A manufacturing facility that had been slated to be located in Blair County will be built in Bedford County instead.

The Bedford County Development Association announced Wednesday the addition of Tram Bar Co-Packing LLC to the Bedford County Business Park.

The Victor, Idaho-based Tram Bar will manufacture energy bars for Kate’s Real Food of Jackson, Wyo., whose co-owner is former Altoona dentist, developer and business owner Bruce Thaler.

Thaler is projecting 36 new jobs with the potential for significant growth.

“We have limited production capacity at our Idaho facility. With our expansion into the grocery store market, we need to produce millions of bars annually. This move will greatly enhance our production capabilities and enable us to meet our growing demand,” Thaler said in a statement.

The new 20,000-square-foot facility will be located on a 3.24-acre lot in Bedford County Business Park.

The total project cost for real estate, machinery and equipment is $4,126,000.

The Pennsylvania Industrial Development Authority Wednesday approved Tram Bar for a $1,390,670, 10-year real estate loan at a 2 percent reset rate and a $400,000, seven-year machinery and equipment loan at a 3 percent fixed rate through the Altoona-Blair County Development Corp.

The loans will enable the company to purchase the lot and build the new manufacturing facility. They will also aid in the purchase and installation of machinery and equipment.

In December, Gov. Tom Wolf announced that Tram Bar was to acquire 1.2 acres at 131 Lamppost Lane in Allegheny Township and construct a new 20,000-square-foot facility behind CNB Bank, 106 Lamppost lane.

Despite the switch in plans, Altoona Blair County Development Corp. supports the project.

“It was a stormwater issue that caused site limitations for the Blair County location they originally chose. Fortunately the project is retained within our regional labor pool through our neighboring county partnership efforts,” said Steve McKnight, ABCD Corp. president/CEO.

Bedford County officials are excited about the project coming to their area.

“We are very excited to have this young, high-growth company coming to Bedford County. Bruce Thaler has a successful track record as an entrepreneur and Tram Bars will fit right in to our region’s outdoor lifestyle. We look forward to working with Bruce and his team. It’s a tremendous fit and offers diversity to our workforce,” said Mark Bollman, chairman of the Bedford County Development Association.

“This is a very exciting project for our area. We boast about having the “best of the best” in our region and we will soon have the best energy bar in the country manufactured right here in Bedford County,” said BCDA President Bette Slayton.

“We are truly grateful to Bruce Thaler for bringing this company home to central Pennsylvania,” Slayton said. “He’s a wise businessman. He understands the importance of our strategic location, excellent transportation system, stellar workforce and regional cooperation. We’re eager to get the construction underway and have a fully operating facility next year.”

Construction will be performed by Ventura Construction Services.

It is expected to begin this fall with completion in 2020.

The project will be funded through a combination of equity, bank financing and state programs. Enterprise Bank, Hometown Bank and Marion Center Bank will all be participating in the private bank financing.

The Governor’s Action Team was also instrumental in the project’s development.

Kate’s Real Food produces hand-rolled, organic energy bars in six flavors.

“What distinguishes Kate’s from the competition is the use of certified organic ingredients, sweetening the bars with all-natural honey, unlike the artificial sweeteners that are pervasive in the industry, and, keeping our ingredient list short and understandable. And it all comes with a great taste guarantee,” Thaler said.

The bars are currently sold on Amazon, in specialty and convenience stores, at ski resorts, in bicycle shops and direct from katesrealfood.com.

“Kate’s Real Food bars are delicious, healthy bars. Once our customers taste them, they become repeat buyers. We are eager to have this new facility in operation with increased production capacity. It will enable us to be more aggressive with our marketing efforts and meet the stringent demands of high-volume customers,” Thaler said. “Our biggest customer is REI, and they are right across the street.”

The company also plans to market its services to similar companies that desire to hire a co-packer to produce food products like Kate’s.

Mirror Staff Writer Walt Frank is at 946-7467.

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