Small Business Spotlight: Creekside Springs
Creekside Springs provides high-quality water to beverage companies, supermarkets, large retailers, and businesses located within a 500-mile radius around its facilities in Pennsylvania and Ohio. The company currently has two operating facilities in Ambridge, PA and Salineville, OH, and one warehouse located in Ellwood City, PA. A warehouse in New Brighton, PA was purchased in 2014 and the renovations to convert that warehouse to a third production facility are expected to be completed this year. We caught up with Creekside Springs’ managing partner James Sas to learn more about how the company is expanding thanks to funding through the Pennsylvania Industrial Development Authority (PIDA) program, which provides low-interest loans and lines of credit to businesses that are expanding in or relocating to Pennsylvania and supports the development of industrial parks and multi-tenant facilities.
How has Creekside Springs grown in Pennsylvania?
The company formed in 2003 with a single bottling facility in Ambridge, PA. In 2005, Creekside added a bottling facility in Salineville, OH, which is located on its natural spring source. Currently, we are in the process of expanding to New Brighton, PA. Over the past two and a half years, we have doubled our employee count to 70 total, with 55 of those employees working in Pennsylvania. We anticipate adding another 10 to 12 employees once the plant in New Brighton becomes fully operational by the end of this year.
Creekside Springs evaluated the expansion of its operations to address its future business needs and maintain its logistical cost advantage in comparison to its competitors. Ultimately, the evaluation identified that a new facility would be the most economical and flexible for such an expansion. As such, we embarked upon the renovation and expansion of the New Brighton warehouse to a production facility in late 2015. The new facility will have fully processed automated controls — something we did not have up until this point. The automated environment is an area we are tapping into to bring in more innovative technology into our plants.
Why did you choose to stay in Pennsylvania?
We rely on state-sponsored programs for a great deal of our operations. We are able to expand thanks to assistance from the Beaver County Corporation for Economic Development (CED). We probably would not have located to Beaver County had it not been for their support. We were using our own capital and cash flow for the New Brighton building and infrastructure, so it was critical for us to secure financing for the initial production line in the New Brighton facility.
CED was a crucial partner in advancing the Pennsylvania Industrial Development Authority (PIDA) loan through the PA Department of Community and Economic Development. We received a $400,000 loan through PIDA and a $250,000 loan from Beaver County, both with an interest rate of 3.5 percent. These loans advanced our timeline to install the production line and transform our New Brighton facility from a warehouse into a functional bottling facility faster than anticipated. Because of the low interest rate, we’re currently looking at another PIDA loan to finance a second or third production line for our plants.
What success have you seen in living and working in Pennsylvania?
We are proud to have a skilled and dedicated workforce of Pennsylvanians. We can confidently say that we have a dedicated group of employees who are all eager to work. Pennsylvania felt like the right place for Creekside Springs to grow and operating here has exceeded our expectations.
What’s even better is that our employees, as well as management, are strongly involved in the surrounding communities. Personally, I am a member of a school board in Ambridge, PA. Overall, Creekside Springs strives to be a good corporate citizen to our communities and part of our mission is our dedication to quality through our people, products, and services.
The Small Business Spotlight is a monthly series which highlights businesses and entrepreneurs who are positively impacting their local community. Interested in starting your own business, or looking for advice on your current business operation? Visit the PA Business One-Stop Shop website to learn more about operating and growing a business in PA. Continue to stay up-to-date with all of Pennsylvania’s latest news and program announcements by signing up for our monthly e-newsletter or following us on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook.
Mr. James Sas is the managing partner of Creekside Springs, LLC, which began operating in 2003, and is the sole member of Creekside Real Estate, LLC. Prior to Creekside Springs, Mr. Sas was the executive vice president of the boutique investment firm Counsel Corporation from 1997 to 2003. Counsel Corporation specialized in the acquisition, stabilization, and aggregation of troubled companies within various industries. From 1984 to 1997, Mr. Sas also was a member and eventually director of Arthur Andersen LLP, an international public accounting firm, specializing in IPO and acquisition-related activities primarily in the manufacturing arena. He is a Certified Public Accountant and member of several community and borough boards.