By Hema Easley
Posted Jan. 5, 2015 @ 6:46 pm
Updated Jan 5, 2015 at 10:31 PM
CHESTER - If you drink bottled water, use adhesive bandages or have had a hip or knee replacement, chances are you've used products sterilized by Steris Isomedix Services, a national company that has had a facility in Chester for more than 20 years.
For more than 40 years, the Mentor, Ohio-based company has provided contract sterilization services to pharmaceutical companies and those that make medical devices at various locations across the country. It also sterilize products like shampoos, bath oils, spices, gauze products, test tubes, dishes and filter systems for customers.
Buoyed by a growing business, Steris has been looking to expand, said Stephen Norton, the company's senior director of corporate communications. The company looked at various locations in the Northeast, where many of its clients are based, but eventually decided to enlarge its operations in Chester rather than open a new facility somewhere else.
"Our growth is directly tied to the growth of our customers," said Norton. "We've had steady growth at this facility since we opened."
Norton declined to say how much the company had grown in dollar terms or by percentages. He said growth was measured by how much product the company could sterilize for its customers.
The company uses a variety of sterilization methods depending on customer requirements. The Chester facility uses gamma irradiation, which is a form of electromagnetic radiation - like X-rays - but with higher energy.
Steris hopes to build a 75,000-square-foot extension to its building, which is 110,000 square feet. It has appeared before the Village of Chester Planning Board for site plan approval and has also submitted plans to the Orange County Planning Department.
The company has yet to buy land on which it hopes to build, said Norton. But if approvals come as expected, Steris plans to begin construction in the fall and be open for business within a year thereafter. The cost of the project will be several million dollars, Norton said.
The Chester site employs about 100 people. The addition would bring about an additional 20 to 25 permanent jobs for engineers, production supervisors and material handlers.
The company has not yet received any tax incentives from Orange County or the Village of Chester, but it is in talks with the county for potential tax breaks, Norton said.