MONACA — Employees at a storied Beaver County glass plant are looking forward to stability for the first time in decades.
Austrian-based Stoelzle Glass chose Monaca to expand its international presence last month, purchasing the century-old former Phoenix Glass factory from Oneida Group subsidiary Anchor Hocking. It’s the company’s first plant in the United States and seventh worldwide.
Stoelzle is a major player in premier glassware – think whiskey and perfume bottles, and plans to “breathe new life” into a facility that has historically shouldered financial pressures, company acquisitions and even a barrage of structure fires.
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The plant remains a crucial employer to more than 300 United Steelworkers members in the county, many of whom complete four-year apprenticeships to learn the skills of the trade. It’s a one-stop shop for glass packaging, blending raw materials to produce candle jars, vases or spirit bottles for client use.
“If you buy a candle in one of the mass retail stores, it’s likely that jar was made here,” said plant manager Nate Smith during a recent tour. “We make about 190,000 candle jars a day, and we sell about 35 million every year.”
In the coming years, Stoelzle will heavily invest in upgraded technology and employee…