Increasing Support

With an increase in sales of 277 percent between 2011 and 2012, Support Enterprises Inc. has expanded its operation.

On Wednesday, company officials displayed their new 5,000 square feet of working space and product lines during an open house. Those attending the open house had an opportunity to look at products, observe some of its manufacturing operations and speak with business officials. There were also giveaways of company merchandise.

Support Enterprises is an independent, for-profit corporation that collaborates closely with The Resource Center. Support Enterprises performs subcontracting work for The Resource Center’s manufacturing operations, and a portion of the business’s profits are used to support people with disabilities through The Resource Center and TRC Foundation.

Paul Cesana, The Resource Center executive director, said prior to Support Enterprises’ expansion, The Resource Center had to subcontract with other manufactures to complete products – like first-aid kits – it was making for the U.S. military. However, now Support Enterprises can make those products. Also, the company makes new innovative products for consumer use made from similar materials it uses for its military supplies.

”Support Enterprises is a for-profit entity. It is not as constrained as The Resource Center because it is for-profit,” Cesana said. ”We make a good, quality product at an excellent cost, and it’s made in America.”

Support Enterprises is a full-service industrial sewing operation that occupies The Landing, 85 Jones & Gifford Ave., in Jamestown. Support Enterprises primarily serves the U.S. military. The business also uses its sewing knowledge to create products for businesses and the general public. Consumer product lines include children’s drawstring backpacks, duffle bags, timber totes, firewood rack covers, grocery tote bags, ladies’ handbags, beach bags, fully contained motorcycle covers, tool bags, tool belts, canine vests and backpacks. Industrial products include fabric-based straps, pulleys or other similar products to fit the needs of a manufacturing company. Support Enterprises can perform silk screening and embroidery on most of its products, as well.

”In 2011-12 fiscal year, 99 percent of our revenue was through subcontracting to (The Resource Center) and we had four new customers for our services,” said Michael Suppa, Support Enterprises planning and operations vice president. ”In the first six months of 2012, 81 percent of our business was with (The Resource Center) and we had 10 new customers totaling the remaining 19 percent of our overall revenue. As you tour the facility, you will see the diversity of products we are capable of making from military to industry to commercial.”

Support Enterprises also has a research and design team to take a concept and turn it into a prototype. Jeremy Weilacher, Support Enterprises support prototype manager, said the business is researching and designing products for the military, like one-release break-apart backpacks. At the same time, the company is designing covers for lawn mowers made out of the same quality material that goes into the products being designed for the military.

”This cover will last longer than your lawn mower,” he said about a lawn mower cover on display during the open house that is made from a similar material that goes into making specialty kits for the military.

In addition to its Jamestown manufacturing space, Support Enterprises has a manufacturing location on East Chestnut Street in Dunkirk. Together, the two locations currently employ about 50 people.

For more information about Support Enterprises, call 661-1028 or visit its website at www.supportent.com.