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Equinox Chemicals to begin expansion

ALBANY -- Bucking an economic climate that has been defined by downsizings and layoffs, Mark Grimaldi's Equinox Chemicals announced Monday that it is on the cusp of a $5 million expansion of its Albany headquarters -- a move that will ultimately create 40 more jobs and continued prosperity, he said.

Standing alongside city, county and economic development officials, Grimaldi thanked the officials for their behind-the-scenes help and said that he looks forward to an even brighter future in Albany.

"I'm excited for this opportunity to expand," he said. "There has been a lot of work from people at the city and county and with Ted (Clem) and his staff from the EDC. It's an exciting time for us."

Clem, who is president of the Albany-Dougherty Economic Development Commission, called Grimaldi's business plan a model for others in the area who share his same level of determination and drive.

"He's proven that vision plus hard work equals success is a formula that still works," Clem said. "I'm sure when he first started this company with two employees back in 2003 that he had no idea he'd be standing here on the brink of a $5 million expansion, but it's happened mostly because of his determination and the hard work of his employees."

Equinox Chemicals is a global researcher and manufacturer of chemicals based here in Albany. Grimaldi started the company in 2003 after he "saw the writing on the wall" as a Merck employee. Merck closed its Albany plant in 2007.

Equinox currently employees 33 employees and will likely add up to 40 more once the expansion is completed.

Albany Mayor Willie Adams said Grimaldi and Equinox are examples of how valuable small businesses are and what potential there is for growth despite the economic downturn.

"He's proof that small businesses are the backbone of our country," Adams said.

County Commission Chairman Jeff Sinyard thanked Grimaldi and his employees for their investment in Albany and Dougherty County.

"This is the way it should be. We have an Albany business started up from just two employees that has grown and is now doing business worldwide," Sinyard said. "It's a beautiful thing."

In discussing the possible expansion of the plant, Grimaldi worked with the city and county's development team, including City Manager Alfred Lott and Planning Director Howard Brown, and with the EDC staff to examine issues ranging from financing options to zoning to the relocation of the two businesses immediately adjacent to Equinox's building on West Oakridge Avenue.

"We're working with those businesses to get them relocated into Albany and Dougherty County so that we can give Equinox room to grow and accommodate their needs as well," EDC Chairman Bobby McKinney said.

Equinox specializes in the preparation of organic molecules and provides services in research and development, government, pharmaceuticals, food and flavorings and alternative fuels.

The expansion includes the purchase of nearby land and the development of new infrastructure and equipment.

Earlier this year, Equinox was named Albany-Dougherty County's Small Industry of the Year by the EDC.