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Ontario Knife seeks tax breaks for expansion

ELLICOTTVILLE – Ontario Knife Company, with a long history in Cattaraugus County, is asking for county help in re-configuring and expanding its operations before it enters its 125th year.

The company – a subsidiary of Servotronics, an Elma-based aeronautic valve manufacturer – has applied to the Cattaraugus County Industrial Development Agency for state sales tax abatement and a payment in lieu of taxes agreement to facilitate the construction of a 25,000-square-foot, $4.37 million addition at the company’s Franklinville facility. The amount of the aid will not be revealed until there is a public hearing.

The addition would allow the company to restructure its production process and move manufacturing to one floor. It is split between two floors now. The expansion plans include investment in new machinery to streamline the manufacturing process as well, according to company spokesmen.

“That’s where we can really make our knives more profitable,” said Cari Jaroslawsky, chief financial officer and treasurer for Servotronics. “Moving the facilities to one floor will allow us to shave a few minutes off our production time.”

The new space also will give the company the chance to pull a few processes that are currently done by contractors off-site back to the Franklinville facility, said Robert Breton, Ontario Knife chief management officer and executive vice president.

Above all, the expansion would keep the company competitive with the rest of the industry, Kenneth Trbovic, Servotronics president and CEO, told the members of the IDA.

Ontario Knife is the sole supplier of bayonets for the U.S. Marine Corps, and also has other military contracts.

The company has also started to make knives for companies like L.L. Bean and Cabela’s. New products are being engineered to market to law enforcement, as well, officials said.

The company started operations in Franklinville in 1902, after opening in Ontario County in the late 1800s. It currently employs 59, with hopes of increasing that number.