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Manufacturer coming to Humboldt park

IRIS USA, a manufacturer and distributor of injection-molded plastic products, has purchased a 34-acre site in the Humboldt Industrial Park East in Hazleton and will soon begin construction of its first plant on the East Coast, a 500,000-square-foot manufacturing and distribution facility.

When completed, the plant will create 95 full-time jobs and be serviced by Reading & Northern Railroad, one of the companies instrumental in securing the new business at the site.

IRIS USA said it is building the new plant in response to strong growth in customer demand, especially in the area of e-commerce.

“With the exponential growth of online purchasing, we are pleased to be able to respond to commercial and consumer demand by locating our new facility on the East Coast, with such close proximity to rail lines, highways and shipping ports,” says Iris President Doc Takahashi.

The company manufactures plastic organizational products such as storage containers, pet products, kitchenware and lighting equipment for uses for the home, office, craft and hobby, and pets; IRIS also imports small appliances and furniture items from sister factories in Asia.

Area railroad company Reading & Northern worked alongside CAN DO, Penn’s Northeast, and others in helping IRIS choose the Humboldt site.

Critical in the IRIS deliberations was the ability of Reading & Northern to build the necessary track infrastructure for a reasonable price and in a timely matter. Reading & Northern also worked with other local partners to provide economic incentives to IRIS so that they were able to choose this site.

CAN DO said its marketing department worked for more than a year with the governor’s action team on the project and also were assisted by Hazle Township, the Hazleton Area School District and Luzerne County, which provided vital tax incentives through the LERTA program.

Andy Muller Jr, owner/CEO of Reading & Northern welcomed IRIS to the family of Reading & Northern, customers.

“On behalf of the 200-plus employees of the Reading & Northern we are delighted that IRIS has chosen to locate its newest North American facility alongside our tracks. During the site search we worked closely with the IRIS USA team to make sure their needs were met. Once operations begin we are confident that IRIS will come to appreciate our excellent customer-oriented service including guaranteed two-hour service windows. We can’t wait to work with IRIS on building their siding and beginning service.”

Iris Ohyama was established in 1958, incorporated in 1971, and has its headquarters in Sendai, Japan. It creates consumer products for both household and commercial use in domestic and international markets including Japan, China, Korea and the Netherlands.

In 1992, the company incorporated IRIS USA and two years later opened its first U.S. facility in Stockton, California. Since then, IRIS USA has added facilities in Texas, Wisconsin and Arizona. In addition to the United States and Japan, IRIS also operates in China, Korea and Europe.

Pictured at the IRIS USA groundbreaking ceremony in Hazleton are, from left, Andy Muller Jr. CEO/owner of Reading & Northern Railroad; Akihiro Ohyama, IRIS chairman and CEO; and Hiroyuki (Doc) Takahashi, president of IRIS USA. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO