Albany small high-tech business is growing - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Albany small high-tech business is growing

By Jim Wallace - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Economic Developers say that kind of expansion is what will lead Albany out of the recession.   Equinox Chemicals is about to start a $5 million expansion.  

Even during these tough economic times, the company is seeing greater demand for its services. They plan to add dozens of new employees in the next year.   Equinox Chemicals is an Albany custom chemical company that does research and manufacturing for companies across the world.

There may be a recession on, but Equinox owners say their business is skyrocketing. Mark Grimaldi left Merck Chemical in 2003, and started Equinox with three employees. 

Now they have 33 employees, designing and preparing chemicals and organic molecules for things like fragrances and flavors.

But Grimaldi says they need significant increases to meet new orders, so they are buying neighboring land on West Oakridge, and will hire at least 15 new people by early 2010.

By the end of 2010 they expect to add 40 high paying jobs like Ph.D. chemists and engineers, sales, and marketing professionals. 

"Us being at almost near capacity right now, we just didn't have much room to absorb any increases in requirements from customers. Let alone taking on new contracts like we are always doing. So it's just a good time to expand on that," said Equinox Chemical Owner Mark Grimaldi.

"In this country it's always been small business that leads the country out of recession. And I think small business will lead Albany out of it's recession as well."

Equinox is buying the property next door from Artesian Contracting and LRA Constructors, and the EDC is helping them relocate their businesses. Grimaldi says he hopes to start work on the expansion later this month.

Grimaldi says some U.S. customers, who have been having their chemicals manufactured overseas, are now choosing to have them made in America, and that is a big part of Equinox's business growth.

The EDC says despite the recession, Albany business has seen some growth.

From 2005 through 2008, Albany had a 3.6% drop in jobs, losing about 1,500. But the number of businesses has increased 3%, the average weekly wages of employees has grown more than 6%, and the tax digest has grown 15%.  

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