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Governor cites Cheer Pack as a manufacturing model

By Sandra L. Churchill
Enterprise correspondent
Posted May 02, 2013 @ 08:10 PM
WEST BRIDGEWATER —  Cheer Pack of North America is only three years old but has already made its mark on the state’s manufacturing industry, Gov. Deval Patrick said during a visit to the West Bridgewater company on Thursday.  “This company’s on fire,” Patrick said during a tour of the food packaging facility.  Cheer Pack North America was launched in 2008 to bring pouch packaging to North America, expanding on technology launched in Europe nearly 20 years ago.  Last May, Cheer Pack moved a manufacturing facility from Plymouth Industrial Park to a larger space at One United Drive in West Bridgewater.  The West Bridgewater site develops the laminated pouches, injection straws and caps and ships products worldwide. During its recent boom, Cheer Pack has done the packaging of pureed food products for Gerber, Beech Nut, Heinz, Motts, and Ella’s Kitchen, among others.  “I am excited about this company because this is advanced manufacturing growing right here in Massachusetts,” the governor said, “and we’re glad to have been part of it.”
Cheer Pack North America has participated in Massachusetts’ Economic Development Incentive Program, which altogether has approved 141 projects in the past three years, spurring over 9,100 new jobs, officials said.  In March 2012, Cheer Pack received a $1.4 million in Economic Development Incentive funds to help foster growth, along with a 10 percent abandoned-building tax deduction. Cheer Pack moved into a building that had been mostly vacant since 2003.  In addition, the town of West Bridgewater endorsed Cheer Pack 15-year tax incremental financing worth $4.9 million.
During the tour on Thursday, Cheer Pack managers told Patrick its revolutionary soft packaging was launched in Europe, and the U.S. has followed suit at the West Bridgewater location, which houses 180 employees. Cheer Pack hopes to top 200 employees by the end of summer.  “We will be the exclusive supplier in the U.S.,” said company President Steve Gosling.  “We do the packaging and filling equipment and we’ll produce 400 million of these pouches in the next year,” he told the governor.
Selectman Eldon Moreira was thrilled to welcome Cheer Pack to town.
“We changed the zoning and in less than 45 days we got everybody in here,” said Moreira, “It’s been a whole team effort in this area.”  Cheer Pack locally created 74 jobs last year, far exceeding its first year commitment of 35 jobs.  “We have a lot of machine operators, process guys and engineers that are direct hires,” said Cheer Pack manager Richard Meyer in response to the governor’s question about workforce sources.

CDF Corp. launched the company in 2010 as a joint venture with two partners – Gualapack, an Italian company, and Hosokawa Yoko, the Japanese firm that invented the flexible packaging.  Officials pointed out that the MassBenchmarks Current Economic Index indicated the Massachusetts real gross state product rose at a rate of 3.9 percent, versus the national average of 2.5 percent.