Economic Development

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$20M ‘Chill-Can’ Plant, 250 Jobs Coming to City

October 15, 2016
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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio –A high-tech, $20 million plant that will produce self-chilling beverage cans and employ 250 people is earmarked for property on the East Side, says the CEO of a company who has roots in the city.

Mitchell Joseph, a Youngstown native and CEO of The Joseph Company International Inc., based in Irvine, Calif., says his company has, for the last two years, been quietly buying property that encompasses seven blocks on the East Side, where he says he plans to build a manufacturing, research and development campus.

“It will go from raw materials to a finished product out the door. And, we will continue to do R&D,” Mitchell told The Business Journal Friday after giving a lecture to students and guests at Youngstown State University’s Williamson College of Business Administration.

Joseph owns the patent to the world’s first self-chilling beverage can, the “chill-can,” and is working on other uses for the technology in athletics, the military and cosmetics, he said.

The “Chill-can” technology is trademarked as MicroCool and “is now available for commercial licensing,” states the company’s website. An energy drink, West Coast Chill Pure Energy, is sold in the self-chilling beverage can, which was patented by the Joseph Co.

“The beverage can has a built-in heat exchange unit, which contains the technology necessary to chill the drink in under a minute. Upon activation (pressing the button at the base of the can), the patented technology activates the environmentally safe reclaimed [carbon dioxide] in the heat exchange unit that leads to the chilling of the beverage,” the website explains.

The Youngstown campus will consist of four buildings, Joseph said Friday.

“One building will have injection-molding plastic and we’ll bring all of the resin in,” he said. “There will be another facility that will attach the two cans and test them, and those cans assembled will go right next door and we will fill them.”

Moreover, the operation will conduct research and development of other products. Recently, the company signed an agreement with cosmetics manufacturer Estee Lauder to use its technology for cold cream products, Joseph said.

“For two years – quietly — we’ve been coming in and buying property [on the East Side],” he related. “We just got our approval today [Friday] on the zoning.”

On Sept. 30, the city Board of Control approved paying $115,465 in moving expenses for residents of the area as part of what the city was calling an “urban renewal initiative.”

The land has  been rezoned from residential to industrial green.

City officials were unavailable for comment late Friday. It’s assumed that the city will provide its standard package of development incentives.

Ground is expected to be broken in the next few weeks, and the first phase of the project could be completed as early as the end of next summer, Joseph said. The entire project should be finished and production could begin within two years.

The area is bordered by Oak Street, Fruit Street, Himrod Avenue, and the Madison Avenue Expressway. The location proved ideal because it has freeway access, Joseph said, and Youngstown is within a day’s driving distance to large population centers in the United States.

It is also the site where his family once ran a beverage and bottling company, the Star Bottling Co.until 1970. Joseph grew up on the East Side, graduated from Youngstown State University in 1969, and worked in the retail industry before getting back into the beverage business during the 1980s.

In July, Joseph Company International Inc. acquired SI Protech Ltd . in West Sussex, England, a company “with extensive experience in product development, mold tooling, plastic injection molding and final production,” states a company news release.

Pictured: From the Chill-Can website, MItchell Joseph holds a baseball and one of his patented self-chilling beverage cans.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.