SALINA — A new Central New York candle maker shed some light on its manufacturing operations today with a grand opening in Salina.
Light 4 Life Candles LLC started production earlier this year at 100 Buckley Road. The company makes devotional candles, primarily the type used in Catholic churches.
It currently employs five people, says Marshall Ciccone, the company’s president and one of its partners. But the company plans to increase production over the next four or five years until it has 60 employees, he says.
“We can start with a low overhead, with a small space, crank out a lot of product, and grow,” he says.
Light 4 Life installed its manufacturing equipment in January of 2012, Ciccone says. It spent the next few months on trial runs, and then moved into full production in April and May, he says.
The company is leasing about 25,000 square feet of space at a complex on Buckley Road that totals about 200,000 square feet. It plans to grow into a larger lease as it expands its operations.
The Buckley Road facility used to hold another candle manufacturer — Will & Baumer. A holding company, Syracuse Gateway Holdings LLC, purchased the complex in 2010, after Will & Baumer moved to Lewisburg, Tenn. A group of real-estate investors led by Toronto investor Yatish Chandra owns Syracuse Gateway Holdings.
The investors decided to create Light 4 Life Candles as Syracuse Gateway Holdings’ sister company. They enlisted Ciccone, who had been Will & Baumer’s president, as a partner in the new manufacturer.
“When we closed on the property, we thought, ‘What can we immediately do?’” Chandra says. “We said, ‘Start a candle factory, because it is already equipped.’”
The owners expect to invest $5 million in Light 4 Life Candles over a five-year period. Empire State Development is providing the project with a $250,000 capital grant. The Greater Syracuse Business Development Corp. approved $200,000 in financing, and the Central New York Regional Economic Development Corp. has agreed to offer $116,000 in financing.
Additional financing is coming from M&T Bank and the individual investors, Ciccone adds.
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