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Flexovit finally recovers from Snowvember Storm

Posted at 2:00 PM, Oct 05, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-05 19:09:00-04

Nearly two years after the record-breaking "Snowvember Storm" dumped seven feet of snow in parts of Erie County, the Flexovit USA company near Angola has recovered after much of its large warehouse was crushed under heavy snow.

A special grand re-opening tour was conducted for Congressman Chris Collins (R-Amherst) who presented company officials with a commendation for their efforts to rebuild and keep manufacturing jobs in Erie County.

The November 2014 storm damage forced the company to shift some of its operations to Kentucky and layoff much of its workforce.

"It brought tears to our eyes, not only for the business, but for the employees," said Thomas Calabrese, president and CEO.

It was estimated that the storm caused $30 million is damage.

Following the storm, a small number of employees worked in cramped quarters while the process of rebuilding took place.

Calabrese said there was never any doubt that the company would rebuild in the Town of Evans, thanks in part to the quality of workers and support from local officials.

The successful reconstruction has allowed all the work that was sent to Kentucky to be brought back locally, along with the workforce being increased to around 80 people.  Thomas Calabrese said as more equipment is brought back in, more employees will be hired.  Other company officials said the goal is to get back to around 100 employees in the future.

The rebuilt 100,000 sq. ft. warehouse has also allowed Flexovit to add more state-of-the-art technology which will help the company remain more competitive in the world marketplace.

Founded in 1977, Flexovit is a leader in the production of abrasive products for professionals.  Those products include specialty cutting wheels for the railroad industry so workers can make quick repairs to train tracks.

The Railway Engineering-Maintenance Suppliers Association helped coordinate the reopening tour that included a special demonstration of a cutting wheel in action.

7 Eyewitness News reporter Ed Reilly was at Flexovit for the re-opening tour and filed these reports.