Defense contract keeps Ampack going strong

First Posted: 1/15/2009

LUMBERTON - Ampack, a longtime supplier of sandbags to the military, has been awarded another contract -this time for $1.9 million - by the U.S. Department of Defense to make 2 million more acrylic cloth bags to be shipped to Iraq and other overseas U.S. military installations.
The contract, which was awarded June 14, is the third one the Defense Department has given to the Lumberton plant this year, generating a total of $6 million.
The 120,000-square-foot plant is expected to add 10 to 12 more employees to its workforce of about 53 people.
“We're very excited about what this means,” said Leroy Freeman, who manages the plant. “This latest contract not only provides more jobs, but it secures the jobs that we already have.
“It is very encouraging and makes us want to work that much harder.”
The order is expected to be completed by November.
Freeman said the company has been aided in its effort to secure government contracts after the Small Business Administration required the Defense Department to only awarded sandbag contracts to businesses in Historically Underutilized Business Zones.
Robeson County is in a HUB zone and that eliminated all our competition except for about four companies” Freeman said. “It was something that I had worked on for a long time and very proud of and very appreciative of the Small Business Administration for all their help.”
The plant opened in 1968 as the Osterneck Company.
Freeman and Mickey Smith purchased the former Osterneck Company in 2001 and renamed it Freeman & Smith Company. They sold the plant two year later to NYP Corp. of Elizabeth, N.J., but remained to manage the plant. NYP Corp., in business since 1953, employs more than 100 people at its New Jersey location. The company has more than $5 million in contracts with the U.S. Department of Defense and is a major supplier of twine, burlap and other items for the horticultural and agricultural industry.
The company also makes mailbags for the U.S. Postal Service, burlap sandbags for the General Service Administration and has been the sole supplier of plastic tubing to Springs Mills, one of the largest textile companies in the country.

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