Government and business leaders break ground on Unique Pretzels' $8.5M manufacturing expansion project using tax-exempt financing from Customers Bank

READING, Pa., Nov. 20, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- An $8.5 million tax-exempt loan provided by Customers Bank (customersbank.com) is allowing Unique Pretzels Bakery, Inc. to break ground on a new manufacturing and warehouse expansion that will bring at least 24 new jobs to the Reading, PA region.

(Photo:  http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20121120/PH17156 )

The Pennsylvania Department of Community & Economic Development (DCED) approved the tax-exempt loan application in September.  Carolyn Newhouse, Deputy Secretary of the Office of Innovation and Investment at DCED, helped lead the groundbreaking ceremony at Unique Pretzels' site at 215 East Bellevue Ave. in Muhlenberg Township this morning.

"Governor Corbett is committed to partnering with business and ushering in an economic environment where the private sector can grow and create jobs," said Newhouse. "The Unique Pretzels expansion is a great example of how state government can successfully work together with local authorities and business leaders to reenergize communities and bolster job creation."

For William P. Spannuth, Chief Financial Officer for Unique Pretzels and a sixth generation member of the 120-year old family business, the timing couldn't be better.

"Our 'problem' was the growing demand for our products that was outpacing our ability to manufacture them," Spannuth said. "Customers Bank helped us put together a loan application package in conjunction with the Berks County Industrial Development Authority to try to get the tax-exempt financing we needed to expand our production capacity."

The team then worked closely with economic development officials at the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development in order to make sure the application met the tax-exempt program's stringent certification requirements. 

"We are happy to be a part of a project that we think will provide important dividends to the economic health of this region," said Richard Ehst, President and Chief Operating Officer at Customers Bank. "This was truly a team effort – from the folks at Unique Pretzels, to the Berks County Industrial Development professionals, to the officials at the state Department of Community and Economic Development. And we had one common goal – to create opportunities for new growth and new jobs. When people in the community begin to see these positive changes, it lends greater confidence and helps create a ripple effect for additional opportunities and possibilities for the future. That's really what the tax-exempt financing program is about."

Customers Bank's tax-exempt program is designed to pass low-cost interest benefits through to private borrowers, thus enabling small- to medium-sized manufacturers to invest in new facilities, production lines, machinery and equipment, and technological advancements that bolster productivity and create jobs.

The Unique Pretzels Bakery expansion involves construction of a 37,500 square feet warehouse and a new 36,000 square feet manufacturing plant, featuring huge new baking ovens provided by Reading Bakery Systems and state of the art processing. The expansion will take place at a 4.6-acre site on the north side of Unique Pretzel's existing facility near the intersection of East Bellevue Avenue and Plaza Drive in Muhlenberg Township. Dolan Construction Inc., of Reading, is the contractor for the project.

About Unique Pretzel Bakery, Inc.
Unique Pretzel Bakery, Inc. is a 6th generation family-owned pretzel bakery that was founded in 1896 by Paul E. Spannuth. Makers of the famed Unique Pretzels Splits brand, the company has continued to grow under the leadership of Justin M. and William P. Spannuth. Today the company produces more than 16 flavors of pretzels that it supplies to distributors and retail stores all along the East Coast.

About Customers Bank
Customers Bank (customersbank.com) is a community-based, full-service bank headquartered in Phoenixville, Pa., with assets of about $2.3 billion.  A member of the Federal Reserve System and deposits insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation ("FDIC"), Customers Bank provides a full range of banking services to small and medium-sized businesses, professionals, individuals and families through branch locations in Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey. Committed to fostering customer loyalty, Customers Bank uses a High Tech/High Touch strategy that includes use of industry-leading technology to provide customers better access to their money, as well as a continually expanding portfolio of loans to small businesses, multi-family projects, mortgage companies and consumers. Customers Bank is a subsidiary of Customers Bancorp, Inc., a bank holding company based in Wyomissing, Pa.

SOURCE Customers Bank



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