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Jericho-based Purolator USA delivers

John Costanzo is president of Purolator USA, a

John Costanzo is president of Purolator USA, a package processing company, that has been becoming a bigger player in the industry. (Dec. 09, 2010) Photo Credit: Danielle Finkelstein

Jericho-based Purolator USA is the American subsidiary of a Canadian company owned 91 percent by the Canadian national mail service.

But it's also a reincarnation of a company founded on Long Island in 1947.

It was originally part of the Purolator company, which makes automotive oil filters - the name is short for "pure oil later." That unit, based in Lake Success, delivered filters to customers, later expanding to take on outside clients.

Purolator Courier essentially left Long Island in the late 1980s, going on to become Canada's largest courier company. The parent company has about $1.5 billion in sales and 12,000 employees.

In response to demand for services here, the company bought back its name and reincorporated a subsidiary south of the border about a decade ago.

John Costanzo, president of the U.S. company since 2001, called it a "natural choice" to locate the American headquarters on Long Island rather than another option such as Chicago, citing the workforce and location. "We chose Long Island - that's where we came from. For us, it's a bit of a homecoming."

He said, "From a workforce perspective, you can't find a better place," adding the quality of local university systems was high.

Purolator USA opened in 2001 in Uniondale, grew and moved to Jericho three years ago. Continuing to expand, it opened a new distribution center last year in Farmingdale.

There are now 200 employees in the American company, about one-third on Long Island. "Every three to five years, we're doubling in size," Costanzo said. The company has 10 branches in the United States and plans to open another 25 in the next five years.

The dominant players in the field are UPS and FedEx. But Purolator USA has carved a niche with its special expertise in Canada. "We deliver Canada," Costanzo said. He said there was about $30 billion a year in trade between New York State and Canada alone.

Of the competitors, he said, "Because we're so large in Canada, they even use us in Canada, particularly to the remote areas."

Costanzo said his company aims to provide more flexible levels of service. "We look at how you distribute the product, what the profile is, where it's going to. We create a program that meets your business' needs."

Company history

1947: Purolator Courier Inc. is formed as a unit of the Purolator ("pure oil later") company, which makes automotive oil filters.

1961: Purolator Courier forms a Canadian subsidiary.

1987: Emery Air Freight Corp. acquires Purolator Courier, absorbing the U.S. business. The Canadian subsidiary is spun off and acquired by Canada Post Corp.

1994: Canada Post and its Purolator unit form a marketing alliance in the United States, Canadian Distribution Services.

1998: Formalizing the alliance, Purolator buys back its name and reincorporates in the United States as Purolator Courier U.S. Ltd.

2001: U.S. company establishes an office in Uniondale, later moving to larger offices in Jericho and adding a Farmingdale site.

2004: U.S. company changes its name to Purolator USA Inc.



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