Oswego Industries Plans Big Expansion, New Jobs In Textiles

Staff report

Oswego Industries, Inc. announced Thursday morning that $35 million in pending government contracts would allow it to hire more people and begin working towards building a textiles manufacturing and distribution facility in Fulton.

While Oswego Industries’ mission is to provide programs and employment to disabled people, Leo Waite, the non-profit’s business development director, said in a statement that the expansion, “would lead to increased employment opportunities for people with disabilities and for anyone willing to be trained in textile manufacturing and distribution.”

The $35 million in pending contracts would dwarf the amount of money the agency has received in government contracts so far. In its best year, 2002, OI received just under $200,000, most of it for janitorial services performed for the Department of Defense, most of that in the Syracuse area.

Oswego Industries, Inc. (OI), Fulton, is aggressively moving forward in capturing its share of the $2 billion federal non-military uniforms/apparel market. Here, an OI employee sews a coverall.“We have contracts pending to make shirts for USDA Forestry and to make sateen coveralls for Defense Supply Center Philadelphia (DSCP),” Waite said in the news release, noting that OI is working with a Tennessee company to get the contracts.

The statement notes that the size of the market for non-military government uniforms and clothing is $2 billion. “With this and future contracts, our plans call for the creation of a textile manufacturing and distribution facility in Fulton,” Waite said in the statement. “We’re working with Operation Oswego County and the SUNY Oswego Office of Business and Community Relations to make this a reality.”

From the news release:

Waite explained that most non-military apparel is manufactured overseas and that businesses are experiencing increased manufacturing costs there—especially in China—driving that business back to the United States. “There is tremendous opportunity for growth in this niche that we aim to be a part of,” Waite said. “Since the late 1980s, OI textile products have included uniforms, hospital apparel, canvas and nylon bags, and industrial garments.”

Waite was hired recently by OI to secure broader sales contracts and expand custom manufacturing opportunities, said Paul Kurtzman, OI’s executive director. “Leo is helping us put the pieces in place as we move toward our goal to make our manufacturing operation more self-sufficient, with less dependency on outside funding.

“Textiles, however, is just one of our strengths. Our range of custom manufacturing solutions runs from warehousing and logistics, shipping/distribution, and custodial management services to business services, packaging, fulfillment and assembly operations.

“OI can also handle blister packaging, shrink packaging, heat sealing and bagging of products. We’ve handled projects for packaging tissue paper, toys and costume kits, just to name a few. OI, working for Marvel Products Inc. of Bridgeport, CT, has packaged and shipped enough tissue paper to circle the earth three times. We’re also engaged in packaging Halloween loot bags and blister packaging of Halloween makeup kits for Wal-Mart.

“We’re making corrugated pallet bases for North American Packaging, Schenectady, and we’re assembling and exporting corrugated transfer case shipping cartons for Magna Powertrain, Syracuse.

“In addition, our custodial management service offers complete janitorial services and grounds maintenance. At OI, diversity is our forte.”