CRG pursuing soft drink firm

JOHNSTOWN – The Fulton County Center for Regional Growth has submitted a proposal to the state in response to a lead for a European soft-drink producer that might be interested in this area.

CRG President and Chief Executive Officer Michael Reese reported to the Board of Supervisors’ Economic Development and Environment Committee last week the company is interested in a 100,000-square-foot production facility.

Reese said the company -whom he didn’t name – may initially create 26 full-time jobs.

He reported to the committee that water requirements for the firm are a minimum of 365,000 gallons per day.

Reese said his proposal highlighted the CRG’s “success” with other overseas food producers in recent years. They are the Greek Fage USA yogurt company and Turkish Euphrates Inc. cheese company, both at the Johnstown Industrial Park; and the planned Spanish Pata Negra sausage factory at the Glove Cities Industrial Park.

Elsewhere in his report:

Reese said he held a meeting with Pata Negra officials to discuss current plans for production start-up this spring, and future plans to expand the facility on Harrison Street in Gloversville. He said he will be meeting soon with owner Ignacio de Ibarra to get a date “when the sausage will start to be produced.”

He said he invited the company’s owners to another meeting with Gloversville Mayor Dayton King to introduce the company and begin a relationship with the city administration. Reese said he also met with the Spanish trade minister from the Basque Region.

Reese said the U.S. Department of Agriculture started inspecting the Pata Negra plant May 20.

Employers are still having trouble getting qualified people for jobs, Reese said. He attended a recent meeting in which state Education Department Deputy Commissioner Ken Slenz talked about “skill sets” employers require in the local workforce.

“In the early fall, we’re looking at bringing in regional developers,” Reese said.

He said the area CEO Core Group is making plans for a regional developer visit to the Fulton-Montgomery counties region and for a separate visit by national site selectors to present Fulton County’s development opportunities.

Reese said he met with Montgomery County Economic Development Director Ken Rose and Joseph Russo of National Grid. He said National Grid may be able to pay half the cost of a site selector project this summer. The remaining split would be paid for by the CRG and Montgomery County Industrial Development Agency.

Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at