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Alliance Innovative celebrates $2.2 million in equipment

Alliance Innovative Manufacturing says its $2.2 million investment in new equipment is providing a much-needed competitive boost that is enabling the small business to grow, rather than struggle to survive.

The Lackawanna precision machinery and cutting tool company Friday marked its new investment with a visit from state and local officials. The newly acquired equipment allows for large-format machining, which company President Richard St. John said was an important breakthrough.

"Basically a lot of the people we do business with currently are taking over bigger-type work over to Canada, because they can do the large work," he said. "My intent was to keep it on our side of the [border]."

Alliance serves customers including in the power and gas industries, aerospace, and air compression systems. It has 38 employees, including some whom were hired as a result of adding the new equipment.

Alliance generates annual sales of $6 million to $6.5 million. St. John expects the large-format work to help increase the company's annual sales to the $10 million range.

Alliance received financial support in the form of a $180,000 capital grant from Empire State Development Corp. and a $357,825 loan from the Erie County Industrial Development Agency.

Sam Hoyt, regional president of Empire State Development, said Alliance's new investment allows the company "to remain in business and competitive right here in Lackawanna, New York."

County Executive Mark Poloncarz said the new job growth was encouraging. "It's great when I have an opportunity to go around and see manufacturing jobs restored to Erie County," he said. "You hear a lot about how we have a service sector economy. But we cannot survive as a region unless we're creating good-paying jobs in the manufacturing sector here in Western New York."

St. John said government support helped his company expand. "I think if more of the small-business owners out there tapped what's available in their area, they could get a lot out of Erie County and a lot out of the state," he said.

Alliance was formed in 2007 when two companies, F.P. PLA and East Coast Tool & Manufacturing, were combined and moved to a new location in Lackawanna near Route 5 the same year.