HAZLE TWP. — An international plastics manufacturer will soon begin construction of a 500,000-square-foot manufacturing and distribution facility in the Humboldt Industrial Park East, local and state officials announced Wednesday.
IRIS USA, the American division of Japan-based IRIS, manufactures injection-molded plastic organizational products for the home, office, craft and hobby and pets.
The company expects its Hazle Township site to create 95 jobs, a release stated, with a groundbreaking event set for late May.
“We are very pleased to welcome IRIS to our industrial park and happy that the company chose Greater Hazleton as the location for its newest manufacturing operations in the United States,” said Kevin O’Donnell, president and CEO of CAN DO, a private, non-profit industrial/economic development corporation serving Greater Hazleton.
CAN DO’s marketing department worked for more than year with the Governor’s Action Team on the project, assisted by Hazle Township, the Hazleton Area School District and Luzerne County, which provided tax incentives through the LERTA program.
The Department of Community and Economic Development assisted with funding that includes a $237,500 Pennsylvania First grant, a $42,750 WEDnet grant for employee training and $285,000 in Job Creation Tax Credits to be issued after the new jobs are created.
“Everyone in Luzerne County has gone out of their way to be incredibly welcoming and helpful, so it’s easy to see why so many distinguished companies have chosen to locate here,” IRIS USA spokeswoman Shaay Farago said. “We can’t wait to be part of the Hazle Township community.”
Parent company IRIS was founded in 1971, while IRIS USA was founded in 1992 and opened its first U.S. facility in Stockton, California, in 1994.
Since then, company officials said, IRIS USA has added facilities in Texas, Wisconsin and Arizona. In addition to its facilities in the United States and Japan, IRIS also operates in China, Korea and Europe.
The company’s selection of products includes such diverse items as barstools, vacuums, pet carriers, litter boxes, desk organizers and under-bed storage.
IRIS and its workforce will join nearly 10,000 people who already work in the Humboldt Industrial Park, O’Donnell added.
“It’s always good news when we see new jobs coming to Luzerne County. Northeast Pennsylvania has a long history of having a skilled, dedicated workforce and I’m confident that played a part in the company’s decision to locate in our area,” said state Rep. Gerald Mullery, D-Newport Township.