PROSPECT — A local business has upgraded thanks to help from a state grant.
The program is run through the Department of Economic and Community Development and provides loans and grants to small businesses to spur job creation and growth.
Prospect Machine Products’ President and Owner Richard Laurenzi said the company received a $50,000 matching grant at the beginning of the summer. This means the company put up the same amount of money for the renovations that it received from the state.
“It allowed us the capitol to make the necessary upgrades to our facility. It helped us with the capitol we needed,” Laurenzi said.
Laurenzi said Prospect Machine Products has been in business for 63 years and employs 22 people. The company creates specific metal parts, which are sometimes referred to as eyelets, used in appliances, outdoor power equipment, sensors, medical devices and other products.
“We’re contract manufacturers of Deep Drawn metal stampings. They are shaped metal parts that have the look of tubes, shelves or cans,” Laurenzi said. “In the Waterbury area the industry has been known for ever as the eyelet industry.”
Laurenzi said the grant was used to expand the working area within the facility’s existing floor plan.
“We didn’t expand in a bricks and mortar way. We expanded internally to allow for more space for our stamping equipment,” Laurenzi said.
Laurenzi said the company was able to finish the renovations by the end of July.
Laurenzi said he heard about the program through business publications he reads. He began the application process last year.
State Rep. Lezlye Zupkus (R-89), a member of the legislature’s manufacturing caucus, toured the company on Aug. 26 to discuss the renovations and the business climate in the state.
“It looks beautiful,” said Zupkus in an interview this week. “By doing what they are doing it will eventually increase productivity.”
Zupkus pointed out the new upgrades at the company will mean employees don’t have to travel as far between the machines. She said in addition to increased productivity, the renovations will also reduce the risk of injury.
Zupkus said the Small Business Express Program can be beneficial to businesses and hopes that other businesses apply to it as well.
“If we help our companies and become more business friendly they can grow and create jobs and our economy will grow and people will have better lives,” Zupkus said.
According to a press release, Zupkus is touring small and mid-sized companies in her district to get an idea what the business climate is like in the state.
“We still have a ways to go to continue improving and not overburden our companies. I believe in regulations but we over regulate companies,” Zupkus said.
While Zupkus is working to improve the business climate in Connecticut, Laurenzi is happy with his business being located in Prospect.
“It’s a lovely little town. I’ve worked here for almost 30 years. I think it’s very business friendly and the people are great,” Laurenzi said.