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Pitt Specialty Supply plans $2.2M expansion in Tarentum

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Sidney Davis | Tribune-Review
Matthew Plocki (left) and Donald Yoest, co-owners of Pitt Specialty Supply Inc. in Tarentum, stand for a photograph in their warehouse on Tuesday, April 4, 2017. Their business is expanding after buying a borough parking lot and a nearby professional plaza.

Pitt Specialty Supply Inc. has started work on a $2.2 million addition to its Tarentum building that will enable the growing food service, janitorial and packaging supply business to boost its workforce in the borough.

The company bought a former 34-space borough parking lot behind its Allegheny Street building for $36,000 — and a professional center behind the lot for an undisclosed price — to make room for its new corporate office and distribution center, co-owner Matthew Plocki said.

Pitt Specialty currently employs 14 people in Tarentum and 21 at a distribution center and store off Penn Avenue in Pittsburgh’s Strip District.

The Pittsburgh jobs will move to Tarentum once the expanded building is completed in mid- to late summer, Plocki said, and it appears all the workers there will relocate.

Plocki and Donald Yoest, the other co-owner, have been adding two or three jobs each year.

“We really like the labor pool available in the Alle-Kiski Valley,” Plocki said.

Pitt Specialty Supply chose to expand its Tarentum location because the company owns the building there, while the Strip District center is leased, he said.

Demolition is under way on interior space in the professional center, and the parking lot is to be torn up Wednesday.

The company planned a Wednesday morning event to mark the start of construction.

“This is something that can do nothing but help Tarentum,” Mayor Carl Magnetta said, because it will create jobs that generate tax revenue and will add activity that could generate more business.

“The Tarentum officials have been very hospitable to us, and have been by our side the whole way along,” Yoest said.

Started in Tarentum in 2002

Plocki and Yoest founded the company as Star Services Inc. in 2002 in the Allegheny Street building. Previously, they ran separate businesses there — Plocki in food service products and Yoest in paper supply.

They bought Strip District-based Pitt Chemical & Sanitary Supply in January 2016. Because Pitt Chemical had been around for about 85 years, “we decided that their name probably was more valuable than our name,” Plocki said, so the business name changed.

Pitt Specialty Supply is on track to surpass $11 million in revenue this year, Plocki said.

In addition to filling local customers’ orders, the company ships an average of 150 packages a day throughout the country to customers who order online.

New corporate offices

About half of the professional building off East Fourth Avenue is being gutted, to become Pitt Specialty’s new corporate offices.

That building was about 60 percent occupied, Plocki said, and tenants were moved to spaces on the opposite side of a courtyard from where the offices will be.

Warehouse space will be in a new 16,000-square-foot structure on the parking lot site that will connect the offices to the existing Pitt Specialty Supply building.

About half of Pitt Specialty Supply’s sales are in janitorial products, ranging from floor waxers to paper towels and cleaning chemicals, Yoest said. He and Plocki plan to add new disinfectant and other products.

Business overall is expanding, Plocki said, especially in food service products — straws in a range of colors, for example, plus napkins, place mats and specialty items such as souffle cups.

“That’s probably where we see the biggest growth,” Plocki said. “More people eat out nowadays. More people get packaged food to go.”

Store, training center considered

Boxes, packing pellets and tape are among the packaging products sold.

Pitt Specialty Supply could add a retail store at the Tarentum complex in the next year, Plocki said, and store space at the Strip District location is to remain open.

Also in Tarentum, the company will open a small training center for customers.

A building maintenance staff could learn to use a new floor scrubber, for instance, Plocki said. Restaurant workers could practice using syrups to make drinks, or school cafeteria employees could be trained to use new equipment.

“This is new to the company,” Plocki said, adding that, while some training is held now, the center will provide a more formal space.

Kim Leonard is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 724-226-4674 or [email protected].

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