New Flyer manufacturing rolls into Jamestown

Photo by Dennis Phillips New York Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul welcomes New Flyer, the operator of the new transit bus manufacturing facility located in the former Fluvanna Quality Markets. Jamestown is one of six New Flyer manufacturing facilities located in the United States, with the company’s corporate headquarters in Winnipeg in the Canadian providence of Manitoba.

JAMESTOWN — The leading manufacturer of heavy-duty buses in the U.S. and Canada has officially started production in Jamestown.

On Thursday, state, county, city and local elected representatives welcomed New Flyer officials to Jamestown at its new production facility at 254 Fluvanna Ave., which was the former location of the Fluvanna Quality Markets. The ceremony included state Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul speaking about New Flyer selecting Jamestown for its new manufacturing facility.

One reason why New Flyer started operations in a new manufacturing facility in Jamestown is because of the stipulation in its contract with the New York City Metropolitan Transit Authority to manufacture in New York state. She said New Flyer has manufactured more than 2,200 transit buses during the last 20 years.

“Every New Yorker has been on one of your buses,” Hochul joked about the importance of its buses in New York City.

Hochul said Jamestown, which used to be known as “Furniture Capitol of the World” because of the high-quality wood furniture produced at one time in the city, is a great community for New Flyer to have selected to find a quality workforce. She said the former grocery store is no longer empty after being vacant for eight years. She added the New Flyer operation has created around 40 new jobs for the city.

“I want to commend this company for having the foresight to select this community,” she said. “The work ethic you have in this community is second to none.”

Kevin Wood, New Flyer manufacturing vice president, said the Jamestown facility is the sixth U.S. manufacturing facility for New Flyer, which is headquartered in Winnipeg in the Canadian providence of Manitoba. He said its new bus color scheme is based on the New York state flag. He added New Flyer selected Jamestown because it wanted to invest in a community that has a quality workforce.

The project to bring New Flyer to Jamestown started about this time last year, said state Assemblyman Andy Goodell, R-Jamestown. That is when County of Chautauqua Industrial Development Agency officials heard about New Flyer looking for a new manufacturing facility in Western New York. That is when county and local development officials contacted Shults Real Estate about the former Fluvanna Quality Markets location.

In October, Paul Somers, Shults Auto Group chief financial officer, said during a Jamestown Local Development Corporation meeting that the former Quality Markets building has been transformed into two sections. There will be 40,000 square feet for New Flyer’s transit bus production, with 23,000 square feet left of the former grocery store.

Shults Real Estate has received local assistance for the $2.2 million renovation project, which included $475,000 for building acquisition and $1,726,000 for building improvements. Both the IDA and JLDC has loaned $500,000 to Shults to transform the former grocery store into a manufacturing facility.

According to the company’s website, New Flyer is a heavy-duty transit bus manufacturer offering the widest range of drive systems and operates North America’s most sophisticated aftermarket parts organization. New Flyer was founded in 1930, as Western Auto and Truck Body Limited, and is now the largest transit bus and motor coach manufacturer and parts distributor in North America with fabrication, manufacturing, distribution and service centers in Canada and the United States.