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Bio-Botanica planning Hauppauge expansion

Bio-Botanica workers make Nature's Answer products for health

Bio-Botanica workers make Nature's Answer products for health food and vitamin stores. The company expects to double in size. (July 31, 2012) Credit: Newsday / Audrey C. Tiernan

A Hauppauge-based producer of plant extracts used in food, medicine and cosmetics is planning a $2.5-million expansion that will increase factory space and jobs.

Bio-Botanica Inc. wants to add 24,000 square feet to one of its two factories on Commerce Drive. Executives said Tuesday the addition is needed because of increased demand for the company's Nature's Answer items and more production for third parties.

Founded in 1972, Bio-Botanica has a workforce of 166 people, primarily in Suffolk County. Local employees earn $44,484 per year, on average, records show.

The planned expansion will add about 60 workers to the payroll by 2014. In the past two years, 40 people have been hired.

"We've seen double-digit [sales] growth the past few years [because] baby boomers are getting older and they want to take care of themselves," said Frank D'Amelio Jr., executive vice president and son of Bio-Botanica's founders. "We expect to double the size of the company in four years."

Much of the growth will come from Nature's Answer products, which are sold in independent health food stores and chain retailers such as GNC, The Vitamin Shoppe and Whole Foods Market.

Last week the Suffolk County Industrial Development Agency backed Bio-Botanica's expansion with a $519,000 property-tax break over 15 years, $69,000 off sales tax on purchases and a $26,000 reduction in the mortgage recording tax. In 1999 the development agency helped Bio-Botanica purchase 85 Commerce Dr., the factory it now plans to enlarge.

D'Amelio said Tuesday he might move the distribution operation of Nature's Answer to a 35,000-square-foot warehouse, also in Hauppauge.

Separately, the IDA agreed recently to refinance $5.2 million in debt for Spellman High Voltage Electronics Corp.

The manufacturer of power supplies will use the savings to buy equipment for facilities in Hauppauge and Bohemia. It also will receive a $34,000 sales-tax exemption and $100,000 off the mortgage recording tax. The project's total cost is $9.5 million.

Spellman's payroll of 1,447 includes 344 workers on Long Island. Local employees earn, on average, $79,651 per year.

Loren Skeist, company president, said he has 15 openings that will be filled "as soon as qualified candidates are found."

Other projects receiving IDA support include:

The Jobin Organization received $546,876 in tax breaks over 10 years to purchase 145 Oser Ave. in Hauppauge for the production of wall panels. Jobin, started in 1968, has outgrown its home at 120 Finn Court in Farmingdale. The $7.6-million move will add 20 jobs to a payroll of 70. Workers earn $77,561 a year on average.

Developer Gerald Wolkoff received final approval for $470,629 in tax breaks over 10 years for construction of a 150,000-square-foot factory and warehouse in his Heartland industrial park. The $7-million building in Edgewood doesn't yet have a tenant, according to Wolkoff attorney Howard Vingan.

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