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Paint wholesaler plans $6.8 million expansion in Port Washington

A truck leaves PACOA's distribution center in Port

A truck leaves PACOA's distribution center in Port Washington. Credit: Barry Sloan

A wholesaler of paint, hardware, lumber and janitorial supplies wants to enlarge its headquarters and warehouse in Port Washington rather than leave Long Island, officials said.

PACOA is proposing to add 21,300 square feet to 7 Harbor Park Dr., which is now 91,250 square feet. The extra space would allow for the consolidation of products now spread among commercial warehouses in Suffolk County and 30 tractor trailers.

The project is valued at $6.8 million.

PACOA was founded in 1969 in the basement of a Queens home as Paint Applicator Corp. of America. The owners initially assembled paint rollers and delivered them to paint stores in the metropolitan area in the trunk of their cars. 

In 2005, the family-owned company moved to Port Washington from Long Island City, Queens, with the help of tax breaks from the Nassau County Industrial Development Agency. The company now is seeking a second round of tax incentives for the proposed improvements to its Harbor Park Drive home.

The IDA board unanimously agreed earlier this month to negotiate a tax-break deal with PACOA.

Company owner Steven Geismar told the IDA, “We provide next-day delivery and that’s what our competition cannot do. But we need the space to do it, to bring in more people to the facility so that we can do it cost effectively.”

Geismar's grandfather, Teddy, and father, Herb, started the business.

PACOA has 127 workers who serve customers in the metropolitan area, Pennsylvania and New England. Employees earn, on average, $65,142 per year, records show.

The expansion project would add six to 10 jobs to the PACOA payroll within five years, said Daniel J. Baker, the company’s real estate attorney.

He noted PACOA exceeded the hiring commitment that it gave to the IDA in 2005 in return for 12 years of property tax savings. That deal ended last year.

For the expansion project, the company is requesting 15 years of property tax savings, a sales-tax exemption of up to $405,550 on the purchase of construction materials and equipment, and $50,900 off the mortgage recording tax, according to its application for IDA aid.

PACOA “is busting at the seams” but its growth is off Long Island, and “that opens up the door to having the facility somewhere else,” Baker said at the Dec. 12 IDA meeting. “That’s not what Mr. Geismar wants. He was born and raised here. But without the [tax] benefits to provide for this expansion, the company will not be able to stay.”

IDA chairman Richard Kessel replied to Geismar, "You're the kind of business that sometimes is ignored by governmental entities when you need help. You aren't a huge corporation. But you are growing and are the kind of business that we should be helping."   

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