November 4/Albany, N.Y./Office of NY Governor Andrew M. Cuomo -- Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced that Empire Specialty Cheese Co. LLC will invest $6.37 million to expand its business in New York state. The company will purchase and upgrade an idle manufacturing facility in Chautauqua county to accommodate new and existing cheese production processes, resulting in the creation of 204 new jobs.

“In Chautauqua County and Western New York, local businesses like Empire Specialty Cheese are expanding, investing in their community and creating new jobs for New Yorkers,” Cuomo said. “This company’s choice to invest in economic improvements in Western New York is another example of what can happen when state government partners with businesses to help them succeed.”

“We are grateful for the Excelsior Jobs Program tax credits we will receive from New York State,” said Empire Specialty Cheese Co. owner Antimo Caparco. “This support allows us to provide new jobs in a larger facility and expand our product line.”

Empire Specialty Cheese has purchased the former AFA meat processing plant at 277 Fairfield Road in Ashville, N.Y., to expand its cheese production. The company had been searching for an adequate location to expand operations in southwestern New York as its current location was no longer viable for the growing business. An announcement was held at the new plant, which will make productive use of the formerly vacant building. The project, which involves building renovation and the purchase of new machinery and equipment, retains 46 full-time, permanent employees and will add 204 new jobs over five years after the facility is completed next year. The project will also create new demand for local milk production and potentially re-employ workers at the facility that were terminated less than 24 months ago.

Empire State Development, the state’s economic development agency, assisted Empire Specialty Cheese Co. LLC with its expansion project by providing $650,000 in Excelsior Job Program tax credits.

Kenneth Adams, Empire State Development president, CEO & Commissioner, said, “Empire Specialty Cheese Co. first found success as a small manufacturer of cheese and is now expanding its product line to multiple private labels. Its success is bringing job opportunities to hundreds of new employees and “new jobs” are two words that we love to hear.”

The Empire Specialty Cheese Co. LLC began in 2000. It presently makes fresh ricotta and mozzarella cheese. The new plant will allow the business to process and package cheese for private labeling and expand the product lines to include a wide variety of cubed and shredded cheeses.

Senator Catharine M. Young said, “New York’s cheese and dairy industry is a robust and thriving part of our agricultural sector and one of our state’s greatest economic assets. This expansion will reinvigorate our local economy, create hundreds of valuable jobs, and promote Chautauqua County-produced cheese products across the state. My hat is off to Empire Specialty Cheese and all the local and state officials who worked together to bring these new jobs to our community.”

Assemblyman Andy Goodell said, “The assistance that New York State is providing to the Empire Cheese Company is helping it expand, bringing new jobs to Chautauqua County and putting a vacant building to good use. We are excited that this company is growing its business and its job force.”

Chautauqua County executive Gregory Edwards said, “We welcome the Empire Specialty Cheese Company to Chautauqua County. We are especially happy to have them because they are returning a landmark building in the food industry back into a vital manufacturing facility. It will be a place where hundreds of people will be able to find work and a paycheck to bring home to their families.”