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Buffalo Forklift to consolidate in Amherst

Buffalo Forklift plans to nearly double its local workforce under a $5.7 million expansion that will allow the company to consolidate its local  sales and refurbishing center  in Amherst.

The Clarence company, which has grown to nearly $20 million in annual sales since its founding in 2007, refurbishes and sells used forklifts and excavators. The expansion project will allow Buffalo Forklift to consolidate its local refurbishing, finishing and storage operations, which now are done at three separate local sites, at a single location on Creekside Drive.

The company, which plans to sell its current office at 4624 Goodrich Road in Clarence, expects to create 21 new jobs through the expansion project. Buffalo Forklift currently has 25 employees, with 15 working out of its Clarence sales office and the rest at its local refurbishing and painting facilities. Work on the project is expected to begin immediately, said Buffalo Forklift owner Arcangelo Capozzolo.

To help finance the expansion, the company on Wednesday received approval for a $1.5 million low-interest loan from the Buffalo and Erie County Regional Development Corp. that will be used to buy equipment needed to refurbish lift units at the new Amherst facility.

The company also is receiving $4 million in funding through  the Grow America Fund, an affiliate of the National Development Council, that will allow Buffalo Forklift to reduce its annual interest expenses by $450,000 by reducing the interest rate on its $3.9 million in outstanding debt to 4 percent from the current 16 percent.

The low-interest funding was important to Buffalo Forklift, not only because of the interest savings, but because the company had been turned down for loans by several local banks, Capozzolo said. Capozzolo also is contributing $150,000 toward the project's funding.

Consolidating three local repair shops operated by the company into a single facility will save Buffalo Forklift an estimated $40,000 a year, while costs also will drop by $43,000 annually once the company's Goodrich Road office is sold, bringing the total savings from the expansion project to an estimated $533,000.

The new equipment that the company plans to acquire will further reduce operating costs and allow Buffalo Forklift to do some work that it now outsources, such as electrical and mechanical repairs, painting and sand blasting, at the Amherst site.

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