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December 7, 2013

Windham company, growing jobs, relocates to Salem

SALEM — A rapidly growing New Hampshire company with surging sales and plans to expand its workforce is relocating to Salem from Windham.

Body Armor Outlet-Granite State Police Supply plans an open house Dec. 13 for its new store at 26 Ermer Road.

“The reason is to get more space for our store and warehouse, and for more employees,” CEO Ray Bellia said.

Bellia, a Salem resident, founded the enterprise as a college student to sell online secondhand police gear in good condition.

He opened his first store in Windham in 2011 and thought it would serve his needs for years to come.

But the company’s sales have tripled to about $3 million in just two years.

“That’s a good problem to have,” Bellia said.

A workforce of 14 is expected to nearly double next year.

Four new hires are expected in the first three to four months of 2014, with another six to eight added before the year is finished.

“That’s our goal for 2014,” Bellia said.

He concedes he never anticipated such growth.

“Our local business has just exploded since we opened the store in Windham,” he said. “We have had huge success in both New Hampshire and Massachusetts. Never once in my life did I expect this would be happening.”

The new Ermer Road facility is the former location of Lighting 101, now renovated.

The new store has 6,000 square feet of space, 10 times that of the Windham store.

“This was definitely a good move for us,” he said.

Bellia praised Windham officials for working with his company, but said it was more affordable to buy and renovate an existing building.

“Windham was great. We really didn’t want to leave,” he said. “But the cost to build was significantly higher than to buy.”

Windham officials were sorry to see the company leave town.

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