Last updated: February 26. 2013 12:23AM - 1311 Views

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HAZLE TWP. — Steady business growth along the East Coast has led a Wisconsin-based company to expand its presence in the Humboldt Industrial Park.

Progressive Converting, or Pro-Con, the largest independent paper converter by market share in the United States, has leased another 212,964 square feet of industrial space in the business park from Mericle Commercial Real Estate Services.

Pro-Con already operates a 230,000-square-foot converting, warehouse and distribution facility on Maplewood Drive in Humboldt and will continue to operate that facility.

Dan Curtin, president and CEO, of the Appleton, Wis.-based company that has 300 employees in the U.S. and has industrial facilities in Minnesota, Virginia and California, said additional capacity was needed to support East Coast customers.

“The recent growth in our business has exceeded the capacity of our Maplewood Drive facility,” Curtin said. “The Mericle building will essentially double our footprint in the northeast and support our growth in the region over the next few years. We expect to retain all of our current employees at the Maplewood facility and will be adding approximately 25 employees in the first year in the new building with the potential to add another 25-35 within three years.”

As other companies that have recently located into the industrial park outside of Hazleton have noted, location was a key.

“Humboldt Industrial Park is in close proximity to both interstate 80 and 81,” said Mike Kersten, vice president of sales for Pro-Con. “This geographic location allows the capability of cost effective services to the entire east coast. We can provide next-day service to most markets.”

The company has leased the balance of space available in Mericle’s 410,000-square-foot building at 1104 N. Park Drive. E.S. Kluft and Co. and PECO Pallet each recently leased close to 100,000 square feet in the same building.

Mericle Vice President Bob Besecker, Jr. coordinated the real estate transaction. He said having existing space available is critically important when companies need to expand.

“We built our facility at 1104 N. Park Drive on speculation several years ago,” said Besecker. “Because the building was ready at the right time, we were able to accommodate three companies that together employ more than 100 people.

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