WESTFIELD - A familiar name in the pierogi business will soon be starting production in Westfield.
On Thursday, the county Industrial Development Agency announced Nowinski Pierogi will be manufactured in Westfield. The plant is being started by Rae Foods Inc., which is owned by Rachelle McFeely and Beverly Braley.
McFeely said, in a news release, the opportunity to get into the pierogi business came when Nowinski's owners were planning to retire. Braley and McFeely were familiar with the production process because they were once employed by Nowinski's Pierogi, and were interested in starting their own business. The two business partners then closed on a 15,000-square-foot facility at 75 Bourne St., Westfield, to start pierogi production.
David Carr, former Westfield mayor; Rich Dixon, County of Chautauqua Industrial Development Agency chief financial officer; Michael VandeVelde, Westfield mayor; Aaron Resnick, Westfield Development Corporation director; Beverly Braley and Rachelle McFeely of Nowinski Pierogies; Greg Edwards, Chautauqua County executive; Bill Daly, CCIDA director; Martha Bills, Westfield town supervisor; and John Hemmer, county legislator, celebrate the announcement that Rae Foods Inc. will open a pierogi plant in Westfield.
The plant should be fully operational by early October once renovations are completed. Once Nowinski Pierogies is fully operational it is projected that 13 new jobs will be created in the first year, with up to 50 new jobs created in five years.
"We are really excited about our new facility in Westfield. Our business is based on Christian principles of honesty, integrity, hard work and kindness. We look forward to growing the business together with our employees," said McFeely, Rae Foods president.
A search ensued for locations in Eastern Pennsylvania, where the business partners reside, and Chautauqua County. Once McFeely and Braley visited the Westfield site, they said it was what they wanted.
"We really appreciated all of the support we received from economic development groups to politicians and Westfield officials," McFeely said. "Being from Pennsylvania, we were unfamiliar with the local area and what was available to us. Everyone's support was a tremendous help and made us comfortable with choosing a location out of state."
Bill Daly, county IDA administrative director and chief executive officer, said the business coming to Westfield is a great story that started with a referral from real estate agent Bill Carlson of Howard Hanna Holt Real Estate to Aaron Resnick, Westfield Development Corporation executive director.
"(The IDA) then launched a review of local and state economic incentives available to attract the company to New York state," Daly said. "Elected officials from the federal level all the way to the local level were engaged together and led the charge in providing support and resources to Beverly and Rachelle at every turn. I would especially like to note the assistance provided by County Executive Greg Edwards, New York state Sen. Catharine Young, U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, Westfield Mayor Michael VandeVelde, former mayor David Carr, and, of course, the tireless effort of Aaron Resnick of the Westfield Development Corporation."
Rae Foods will receive a 10-year Payment in Lieu of Tax schedule, $640,000 in AL Tech Revolving Loan Fund financing for working capital, machinery and equipment, abatement of sales tax during the construction period and abatement of mortgage recording tax. Additional economic incentives were also approved by Empire State Development.
"It has been a pleasure working with the Rae Foods executive team, in partnership with local, state and county representatives and economic development agencies to bring together the necessary real estate, financing and incentives to support the establishment of this exciting new business venture," said Resnick. "I am thrilled to welcome Rae Foods Inc. to Westfield."
Nowinski Pierogies are sold as six varieties in local grocery markets: potato and cheddar; potato and sauerkraut (kapusta); potato and roasted garlic; potato with cheddar and jalapeno; sauerkraut; and cheese.
"With a name already known to many in Western New York, we are excited that Nowinski brand pierogies will now be produced right here in Chautauqua County, creating significant new jobs for the local economy," said Edwards. "This is a big win for us, and another excellent job coordinating assistance and incentives by the county IDA."
Young said food industries are economic drivers in the region, and it is exciting to have Rae Foods in Chautauqua County.
"Everyone loves pierogies, especially when it means that we are gaining more than 50 new full-time, permanent jobs," she said. "We are grateful to the company for their entrepreneurial spirit, and $2.5 million investment in our economy. State and local economic development officials worked together to make this venture a reality, with a nearly $275,000 incentive from the state. It is a delicious outcome in very many ways."
Gillibrand said, "Nowinski Pierogies has made a wise choice in locating their production facilities in Westfield, and I thank them for investing in Western New York's economy. This welcome addition to Westfield's industrial corridor can bring up to 50 jobs to the area, and I am confident that Nowinski Pierogies will be thrilled with our dedicated and skilled workforce in Chautauqua County."