By Christine Graf
Quad Graphics plans to invest $45 million in plant upgrades and was recently awarded $1.05 million in tax incentives from the Saratoga County Industrial Development Agency (IDA).
The company said it will be installing two state-of-the-art commercial printing presses in its Saratoga Springs plant where they print magazines, catalogs, and retail print inserts.
As part of the incentive package, Quad said it will save $211,000 in sales tax on equipment purchases. It will save an additional $105,000 a year in property tax as part of a 10-year payment-in-lieu-of-taxes agreement that freezes Quad’s property assessment.
According to Rod Sutton, IDA chairman, Quad Graphics approached the agency in October. At that time, the Saratoga Springs plant was one of 10 in the U.S. being considered as the location for the new presses. Quad Graphics has more than 35 plants in the U.S. and also has plants in Latin America and Europe.
“They indicated to us that if they were not selected as being the site for the presses, because of the downturn of the print economy, there was a possibility there would be a downsizing in the Quad plant in Saratoga in terms of jobs and the availability of programs Quad has been offering over the years,” said Sutton. “In order for Saratoga to remain competitive and maintain the job base, they thought that their plant would be ideal for this new press. They came to the IDA to seek a pilot program.”
Sutton said the IDA felt comfortable offering Quad a 10-year pilot program to help preserve its existing job base. The company employs 668 workers at its Saratoga Springs plant and has an annual payroll of over $37 million. With the new presses, the company will add an additional 74 jobs over the next several years. Forty-two are expected to be created in 2021.
With assistance from Saratoga Economic Development Corp., Quad was able to secure $6 million in incentives from the Empire State Development and $2 million in incentives from National Grid. According to Quad Graphics plant manager Chad McKissick, the Saratoga Springs plant was chosen for the new presses in part because of the package of incentives.
“It was because of the state of New York being a good partner along with the local IDA. They helped us to look at what incentives were available to us as a company,” he said. “The press could have very easily gone in at another location, but I don’t want to say it was a competition. At Quad, we all work together really well.”
The installation of the new presses will allow the plant to become more efficient and reduce waste. The first press is expected to be operation in early 2021 and the second in 2023.
The presses will have an “auto transfer” feature that will automatically change over from one client’s job to the next in approximately 30 seconds. The ability to transfer from one job to the next automatically is a key—the first of its kind in Quad’s vast U.S. manufacturing network, the company said.
“We will be able to go from one job to the next in a matter of 20 to 30 seconds. Normally, it takes us anywhere from a half hour to an hour and a half on a job changeover,” said McKissick. “Along with that, we will be reducing paper waste. It’s just a much more efficient platform, and Quad is always investing in our future. Print is always going to be around.”
Munter Enterprises of Middle Grove was chosen as the contractor for the project. Construction is expected to begin in June. One of the plant’s existing buildings will be renovated and its roof height will be modified.
“This is a five-year plan,” said McKissick. “We entered this pre-COVID-19, and obviously that’s been a disruption in the world, let alone in print. All eyes are on it, and we are making sure we are making the right decisions. It’s definitely hit us on the volume side. That’s been true throughout the industry.”
Because they print news publications, Quad Graphics is considered an essential business and has remained operational throughout the pandemic. The company also prints retail inserts for other essential businesses.
“A lot of people get their information from print,” he said.
Despite the current economic uncertainty, McKissick said the new presses will have a significant positive impact on the Saratoga Springs plant.
“I think it’s a great opportunity for Quad Saratoga to continue our partnership with the local community and ensure that Quad is here for years to come and has a presence in Saratoga Springs.”