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Alissa Scott/Recorder staff Congressman Paul D. Tonko, D-Amsterdam, toured Mohawk Fabric in Amsterdam Thursday with company owner Dominic Wade, who shared the concerns he has as a small-business owner.

Alissa Scott/Recorder staff Congressman Paul D. Tonko, D-Amsterdam, toured Mohawk Fabrics in Amsterdam Thursday with company owner Dominic Wade, who shared the concerns he has as a small-business owner.

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Tonko tours Mohawk Fabric, hears concerns

Friday, September 06, 2013 - Updated: 11:36 AM

By ALISSA SCOTT

alissa.scott@recordernews.com

During a tour of small area businesses, U.S. Rep. Paul D. Tonko, D-Amsterdam, visited Mohawk Fabric Co. Inc. in Amsterdam Thursday, gathering information to bring back to Congress.

"I'm part of an effort to rebuild manufacturing," Tonko explained to Mohawk Fabric owner Dominic Wade. "'Make it in America' is what we call the concept where we're putting bills together that go for work force training to tax incentives to retro-fitting of old, traditional manufacturing in a way that could be cheaper, but smarter, and land a contract at the international scale. What does an industry like this -- what can we do from Washington that would be most helpful?"

Mohawk Fabric is a family-owned and operated textile manufacturing company that specializes in weaving cotton, nylon and polyester, though it also crafts Nomex, Dacron, carbon and silk. In the past couple of years, it's expanded to a 14,000-square-foot warehouse, a significant upgrade from its earlier days that began nearly a century ago.

Truth be told, Wade said, Washington could help by lessening the amount of paperwork and that that paperwork be better catered to small businesses.

"If someone could come in and say, 'OK, we get that you're a small business and you can grow if these things happen. This is what we can offer you and we can streamline it,'" Wade said. "I got a $48,000 grant to hire people in 2010. I'm still waiting for payment for that."

Wade explained other situations in which he had trouble with applications or lost money because of circumstances he believes are not his fault. Tonko said he's noticed those common trends among other small business he's toured.

Wade also suggested a group-rate safety training for his employees and other employees in the area.

From a work force development stand point, Wade suggested, if Fulton-Montgomery Community College set up a program for 10 different area companies that needed safety training, it could offer the companies a discounted rate.

"I could send people and continue to grow," Wade said.

"That would be saving everybody money," Tonko interjected.

The city of Amsterdam's accounts are undergoing an auditing process, as its annual update document is severely late. Wade said this has affected his business.

"There's a grant that for the last two or three weeks, they've said, 'We can cut your check, but Amsterdam's funds are frozen, so we're not sure how to pay you,'" he said.

Wade said because of that, he's had to ask his parents for money to pay his employees.

"I didn't want to make that call," Wade said. "I had no choice. Luckily I have connections that I can make those calls, but that's not how I want to continue to do business."

After touring the facility, Tonko said he encourages Wade to keep in touch so his office can help out with some of the paperwork issues he's been having. Tonko also said the safety training is an idea that Congress can definitely go after.

"This is the benefit of touring smaller manufacturers, because there's a niche there that has to be filled," Tonko said.

     

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