Click photo to enlarge
Employees of K&E Plastics move equipment into the former Miller Structures building in Bennington’s Morse Industrial Park on Monday. (Peter Crabtree)
Saturday May 11, 2013

NEAL P. GOSWAMI

Senior Staff Writer

BENNINGTON -- A local manufacturing firm is in the process of moving its operations from Arlington to Bennington in a bid to expand.

K&E Plastics, a contract machine shop, is setting up its new location at the Morse Industrial Park in Bennington, according to owner Eric Broderson. The company had outgrown its location and could no longer expand there, he said.

"The main goal was obviously to continue to grow. Up in Arlington we were sardines in a tin can, meaning we were just out of room. What made us look at this building and coming to Bennington was pretty much cost," Broderson said.

Broderson said it was too expensive for K&E to construct its own space. But the building on Morse Road was available for rent. The 35,000-square-foot building that will now house the company is about three times bigger than its Arlington location, according to Bennington County Industrial Corp. Executive Director Peter Odierna, who helped facilitate the move.

The company makes nonmetallic components primarily for the aerospace, defense and medical industries. Finding a location in the area to expand was important, Broderson said, so he could maintain his current workforce.

"We wanted to stick local because we have a good work force. All of my employees are from around here and I didn’t want to get too far away where I would lose some of my employees," he said. "These are high-precision, skilled-labor jobs."

There are currently 24 people employed by K&E. Broderson said that number will likely rise in the future as the company settles into its new location. "We are looking for growth. We are expecting growth," he said.

He said the company has seen business slowly growing and that trend is expected to continue.

"Manufacturing is still in a growth stage. It’s about .5 percent, but it’s growth. In 2013, from what I’ve been able to read, I think we’re expecting a good year," Broderson said.

Odierna said K&E was able to weather the economic downturn and is now poised to thrive in its new space.

"The company has been growing nicely, even in this, what I call Goldilocks economy -- not too hot, not too cold," he said. "This gives them the opportunity to leverage growth opportunities in a footprint that’s much bigger."

Contact Neal P. Goswami at ngoswami@benningtonbanner.com, or follow on Twitter: @nealgoswami