By Terry Rogers
First State Manufacturing, Inc. held a grand opening and ribbon cutting on Tuesday, October 18, attended by US Senator Tom Carper, Delaware Economic Development Secretary Bernice Whaley and Mayor Bryan Shupe along with other officials and company leadership for their new warehouse and distribution center. The distribution center is a partnership with Amtrak and nearly doubled their operational facility space.
“Amtrak has consolidated the inventory from 17 separate warehouses throughout the country under one roof to serve the entire Amtrak fleet which serves almost 85,000 passengers on a daily basis,” Sher Valenzuela, Vice-President of First State Manufacturing, said. “This facility will not only allow us to serve our national customers, but our international contracts. We are looking forward to being able to move towards maintaining a small inventory of finished goods, especially for our Turnova safety sleeve line and our F2 Seating products that we are planning to manufacture here in Milford, Delaware.”
First State Manufacturing began in a small garage owned by Eli and Sher Valenzuela. Since their humble beginnings, the company has grown 30 percent each year over the past several years. They currently have 89 employees and are hiring at all levels of the operation. The Turnova safety sleeve line is an after-market safety covering for exposed metal bars that can be found almost anywhere. They are designed to protect people from injury from exposed metal such as turnstiles, railings or other exposed metal that could cause injury. First State Manufacturing holds the patent for the padding and the product is manufactured at the Milford location.
In addition to the trademark Turnova safety system, First State Manufacturing has also partnered with FISA Italy for the F2 Seating line. FISA Italy manufactures the seat assemblies including plastic, metal and mechanics while First State Manufacturing manufactures and upholsters sewn goods. The plan is to bring the two companies together under one operation to serve the expanding commercial transit system. It is a United States-based company that will be housed at the current location for First State Manufacturing. The company has five and ten-year growth plans.
“First State Manufacturing is an award-winning company and is one of the most successful manufacturing companies of its size,” according to Lori Tovcimak-Speed of the Marketing and Public Relations Department at First State Manufacturing. “We manufacture products which include carpet refurbishment, mass transit seating and more. We have earned a reputation for providing custom sewn solutions that solve the challenges customers face, while providing employment opportunities that enhance the lives of its employees and their families in lower Delaware.”
Eli Valenzuela, President of First State Manufacturing said that he is proud that his dream has grown to provide jobs in the Milford area and continues to improve the economy of Milford. “We had a dream and a vision,” Mr. Valenzuela said. “We are truly blessed to have a team that enables us to do what we do at First State Manufacturing.”
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