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Company gets a loan to grow on

By G. Michael Dobbs

Managing Editor

CHICOPEE A $3.5 million financing package will allow one Chicopee company to upgrade its technology, expand its product line and create three new jobs.

Mayor Michael Bissonnette, WestBank Senior Vice President Paul Accousi and MassDevelopment President Robert Culver, joined Pioneer Packaging President Jeffrey Shinners at a press conference on Thursday announcing the loan.

Founded in 1946, Pioneer Packaging manufactures thermoformed plastics and paperboard folding cartons for clients in the northeastern United States. The tax-free loan will be used to purchase a new eight-color printing press and a rotary patching and lining machine. This new equipment will allow the company to print on plastic, add a high gloss coating to paperboard and make products that combine plastic and cardboard, Shinners explained.

The result, Shinners added, will be an increase in sales and personnel.

MassDevelopment is the state's finance and development authority and Culver said that one of his focuses has been to help small businesses remain competitive.

Providing businesses an access to loans is "very important," Culver added. Manufacturing is "at risk" in the state, especially since other states try to recruit Massachusetts companies to relocate, he said.

His agency's job is to understand the needs of companies and to help them to find tax-exempt financing. The agency works with local banks such as WestBank, Culver said.

Shinners described the loan program as a "tremendous opportunity," and that MassDevelopment helps businesses through the process.

"They're very, very good to work with," Shinners said.

Bissonnette said that small businesses need to have red tape cut in order to help them take advantage of program such as this one.

"The success of others sends a message to other manufacturers," Bissonnette said.

Shinners said that some of the new equipment has already arrived.