Health products start-up plans 200 jobs for LI

Scott Rudolph leads Piping Rock Health Products Llc, Scott Rudolph leads Piping Rock Health Products Llc, which is to open sites in Babylon and Islip. Photo Credit: Michael E. Ach, 2010

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A new manufacturer of health products plans to create 200 jobs in Suffolk County over the next five years, officials said Wednesday.

Piping Rock Health Products Llc is buying two buildings in Babylon and Islip towns that will be converted into factories, an office and warehouse. The start-up business was begun earlier this year by Scott Rudolph, a prominent local entrepreneur.

Piping Rock will spend $21 million to purchase, renovate and equip the buildings, where production will start in about a year. The company will initially sell jam and jellies in January and then expand into health products later in 2012, Rudolph said.

The move comes after the high-profile departure of Arrow Electronics' headquarters from Melville to a Denver suburb.

State and local governments are providing more than $1.83 million in tax credits and breaks on property and sales taxes to Piping Rock in return for a commitment to invest here. Rudolph, who lives in Glen Head, said he had considered opening the factories in North Carolina or Pennsylvania.

"These tax abatements and credits help tremendously but you also get highly qualified people on Long Island that you aren't going to get in other areas," Rudolph said in an interview.

In an announcement expected later today, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said Piping Rock's investment was "a clear sign that businesses are seeing our state as a premier destination to grow, invest and create jobs."

Empire State Development Corp. is providing up to $1 million in tax credits over 10 years. The company is receiving $650,000 in tax breaks from Babylon Town's industrial development agency and $179,000 from the Islip Town IDA. A discount also is expected to come from the Long Island Power Authority.

Local development officials said Wednesday it was unusual for a start-up business to receive such assistance.

Rudolph, 53, founded vitamin purveyor U.S. Nutrition Inc. in 1976 and eventually sold it to supplement maker NBTY Inc. He left NBTY as chief executive earlier this year after it was sold to the investment fund Carlyle Group for $3.8 billion.

Rudolph has given millions of dollars to both Dowling College and Washington University in St. Louis, and served as Dowling's president for one year.

Rudolph said yesterday that Piping Rock will sell merchandise through its website and catalogs; no retail stores are planned.

He predicted Piping Rock's annual sales would total $50 million in five years: "I want this to become a thriving company."

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