EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

July 7, 2012

Methuen box manufacturer looking to double its size

By Brian Messenger

METHUEN — A local manufacturer of folding cartons, boxes and packaging products is looking to create more than 100 new jobs and double the size of its Chase Street facility.

Century Box currently employs about 110 people at its 55,000-square-foot manufacturing facility and 15,000-square-foot offices. The company has operated for decades at 45 Chase St., located off Route 28 near the Lawrence line.

A proposed 55,000-square-foot addition to the manufacturing facility is now making its way through various city boards. Vincent Manzi, a local lawyer representing Century Box, said the company hopes to begin construction on the addition in October.

Manzi said Century Box is looking to double its manufacturing capacity as well as its staff of "highly trained and skilled workers," the majority of whom live locally.

Century Box was started by Methuen native Al Kakan and is now run by his two sons. Its customers include Table Talk Pies, Yankee Candle Company, DeMoulas/Market Basket and General Mills.

"It's a major expansion of their plant," said Methuen Community Development Director Bill Buckley. "I think it's great news for Methuen and the region that a manufacturer the size of Century Box is looking to expand here. The quality of the jobs that they offer are the types of jobs we want to offer and support."

Buckley said a site-plan review is underway with the city's Community Development Board and a meeting with Century Box is scheduled July 11. The company is also working on an application for the Conservation Commission. Last week, Buckley said the Zoning Board of Appeals approved a zoning variance for the project.

"We're doing everything we can to keep it on the fast track from a permitting perspective," said Buckley. "There's still work to be done."

If approved, Manzi said construction is expected to take a year to 18 months. Manzi said Century Box will begin recruiting new employees before the project is completed in order to train them.

Manzi said he is also working with the state and U.S. Rep. Niki Tsongas, D-Lowell, to identify opportunities for workforce training.

"Most of their competitors are in China and Mexico," said Manzi. "They're doing it because they have excellent equipment. They run a tight ship and they have an excellent product."

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