Perfume Center of America Inc., a Plainview-based wholesale distributor and online retailer of fragrances, plans to move next month into a $45 million solar-powered facility in Ronkonkoma.
The company's new 220,000-square-foot headquarters at 2020 Ocean Ave. will house about 100 employees and boast Long Island's second-largest, privately owned commercial solar installation, according to PSEG.
Perfume Center currently has three facilities on Long Island and wants the new site to bring all three operations under one roof. It plans to hire another 100 workers in coming years, president and CEO Kanak Golia said.
Golia founded the company in Manhattan in 1993, selling perfumes out of the back of his car. In 2002 he moved the operation to Long Island. Business has increased steadily over the years, but because the company's perfume stock is spread over three locations, getting orders to Perfume Center's many small and midsized independent business customers quickly became difficult.
"We used to deliver the merchandise within 24 hours," said Golia, "but because of the three warehouses" the company is struggling to keep up with demand. Delayed delivery times are a barrier to growth, he said. "You'll buy from somebody else. You're not going to wait for me."
Golia, who runs the business with his wife, vice president Prabha Golia, bought the 11-acre property in 2008 with plans to build a 100,000- square-foot facility. Due to the lasting effects of the recession, construction was halted until last year. The scope of the project -- which has received sales, mortgage recording and property tax benefits from the Town of Islip Industrial Development Agency -- has grown several times since. Midway through construction, another 20,000 square feet were added for future growth, spurred in part by the recent launch of the company's online retail operation, Perfume Worldwide.
"They underestimated their growth in the Internet portion of the company, so much so that we're building a 20,000-square-foot extension on the building as we're building this building," said Jack H. Kulka, a professional engineer and principal of Kulka LLC, the Hauppauge-based construction management firm overseeing the project. Construction is scheduled to be complete by the end of the year.
The private company would not disclose revenue, but Golia said the new distribution center and corporate headquarters should increase business by at least 20 percent.
"This is a monster for them!" said Scott Maskin, chief executive and co-founder of Oakdale-based SUNation Solar Systems Inc., the company contracted to install the $1.6 million, 2,600-panel installation on the distribution center's rooftop. "This is a company that has made an investment in themselves."
While the cost of the nearly 830,000-watt system seems steep, Maskin said, it will offset up to 95 percent of the building's energy costs, and there will be substantial savings after the fact.
"After the federal tax credit, after the [PSEG] rebate, after the accelerated depreciation, really this whole system is costing them about $600,000," he said, adding that the company can expect a return on investment within four years. "It's a tool to grow your business, not just an expense."
Beyond the savings, Golia's son, Piyush, president of Perfume Worldwide, said it's a trend within a lot of industries to find ways to go green.
"Like everyone else, we're looking to decrease our carbon footprint," he said. "We use recycled paper, we have compressors . . . to recycle things, and this was a part of that."
The cavernous, 50-foot-tall distribution center was designed by Farmingville-based JM2 Architecture.
Though the site will primarily serve as a way to grow existing revenue streams, Perfume Center has future expansion plans in mind, such as distributing products overseas and securing contract manufacturing licensing from fragrance name brands.
"You don't make the building you need today," Golia said. "You make the building for the coming five years."
Name: Perfume Center of America Inc.
Founder and CEO: Kanak Golia