August 2, 2017 By James T. Madore firstname.lastname@example.org
A fast-growing designer of store displays for fashion houses and upscale retailers plans to double its space in Suffolk County at a cost of $13 million, executives said.
Space/Craft Worldwide Inc. wants to purchase a 100,000-square-foot building at 395 Moreland Rd. in Hauppauge. The facility has served as the U.S. headquarters of German automation-equipment supplier Festo Corp.
Space/Craft’s expansion plan will add 10 people to its payroll of 104 by 2020. The company has created 29 jobs in the past two years.
Records show employees earn, on average, $73,100 per year, excluding health insurance and retirement benefits.
Last week, Space/Craft’s expansion plan was endorsed by the county’s Industrial Development Agency. The agency granted the company $864,436 in tax breaks, including $773,011 off property taxes, a 27.5 percent reduction over 10 years.
“This new space will allow us to operate in a more efficient capacity, providing us with room for more manufacturing, storage and staging of our displays,” Maz Khalfan, the company’s CEO and founder, said last week.
Space/Craft builds displays for designers such as Prada, Gucci and Marc Jacobs, and department stores such as Nordstrom and Saks Fifth Avenue. Some of the displays are used in holiday windows in Manhattan and at fashion shows.
“We work with very high-end premium luxury brands; they have their stores in the wealthiest parts of the country,” he said. “They are looking for talented artists, quick turnaround and high technology — all of which Space/Craft can provide to them.”
Inside the company’s current factory in Edgewood, display components are cut from materials using a robot, while others are made with 3D printers. An automated painting system is used with some components.
Space/Craft placed No. 245 on Inc. magazine’s 2015 list of the fastest-growing U.S. businesses, with annual revenue soaring 1,802 percent over a three-year period to $20.2 million in 2014.
Khalfan said he started Space/Craft “accidentally” in 2003 after being fired by his father from the family’s sign-making business in Long Island City, Queens. His father did give him the “seed money” to launch Space/Craft.
Khalfan said he has considered moving the company to Pennsylvania because of its lower costs. But he said Long Island’s advantages include proximity to fashion designers and retailers in New York City, and a creative and motivated workforce.
Space/Craft is the type of business “that could be located anywhere and that we want to stay in Suffolk County,” said IDA Executive Director Anthony J. Catapano.
Two years ago, Empire State Development, the state’s primary business aid agency, awarded Space/Craft $900,000 in return for its promise to create 50 jobs and invest $3.2 million in new equipment.