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Mayer Bros. seeks tax breaks to expand Somerset fruit juice plant

WHEATFIELD – Mayer Bros. Apple Products, a locally owned fruit processor and cider maker since 1852, is planning to double the size of the production area in its Somerset plant, adding about 26 jobs.

The Niagara County Industrial Development Agency received an application Wednesday for a 15-year tax break on the value of the $3.15 million expansion at the Lake Road plant, where 81 people currently work.

Alan L. Zak, Mayer Bros.’ controller, said two new salesmen have drummed up a lot of new business for the West Seneca-based company. The expanded production area will enable the plant’s “hot line” to produce more fruit juice from concentrates, for sale to makers of flavored teas and similar products.

Zak told the IDA board that the plant is working overtime. “We believe we have enough customer demand to add two shifts,” he said.

Board member William L. Ross called Mayer Bros. “iconic” because of its long history as a locally owned company.

“That’s a regional asset,” Ross told Zak. “It’s a great project. I’m glad you’re looking for expansion.” Zak said the plant, which has been open since 1986, has three production lines now. One is for pressing juice from fruit; a second is a “cold line” to bottle apple cider; and the third, the “hot line,” produces juice from concentrate which is heated to allow for a longer shelf life. Customers include PepsiCo, Coca-Cola, Arizona Beverages and several retail store chains, which use Mayer Bros. juice for their store brands. More than 60 percent of the company’s sales are made outside New York State, according to its IDA application.

The 15-year tax break reduces the company’s property taxes as well as exempting Mayer Bros. from paying sales tax on building materials and equipment for the 40,000-square-foot addition. The IDA staff estimated the company’s savings at almost $307,000 over 15 years.

Besides the new bottling line, three new loading docks will be built at the Somerset plant.

The IDA board is expected to vote on the PILOT Oct. 12. A public hearing must be held before then, but it has not yet been scheduled.


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