By Dave O'Connor
WESTFIELD - Preliminary work to convert the former Westfield Exempt Volunteer hall at 75 Bourne St. into a food manufacturing facility continued Friday with asbestos removal.
Photo by Dave O’Connor
Asbestos removal is underway at the planned site for Rae Foods pierogi manufacturing facility at 75 Bourne St. in Westfield. A workman said Friday the asbestos fibers are generally contained in floor tiles.
A workman for the contractor, H.H. Rauh Contracting Co. LLC of Ashville, said Rae Foods, which plans to make pierogi in the building, hired the company to safely remove the asbestos, mainly found in the old floor tiles there.
Rachelle McFeely, Rae Foods president, said Friday from her North East, Pa., home, that she expects the removal work to be completed sometime Monday.
"It (the asbestos) is very light, but we must comply with regulations," she said.
McFeely's business partner is her mom, Beverly Braley who is the company's vice president.
McFeely confirmed Rae Foods will invest $2.5 million in the Westfield operation as reported last week by state Sen. Catharine Young, R-I-C, Olean.
"It's actually a little more than that," McFeely said.
She confirmed the $2.5 million figure includes both loans and company capital.
"We put in a very substantial amount," she said.
Pierogi produced at the plant will be marketed under the Nowinski brand and available in six varieties, according to McFeely.
Nowinski is now headquartered in New Castle, Pa. Rae Foods bought the business and will move much of the equipment to Westfield, McFeely said.
Presently, the Nowinski brand is found in a very limited area but McFeely said Rae Foods plans to greatly increase the brands availability to finally include the entire continental United States.
"We're going to increase our customer base," she forecast.
Asked about competition with national brands like "Mrs T's," McFeely said Nowinski looks forward to sharing the pierogi market with other makers.
"Our product is different," she said, and will be competing in what she called "the higher end market" including restaurants and delis.
McFeely said she and her mom have years of experience in the food business and both last worked for JTM Foods in Erie, Pa.