Yonkers remanufacturer sees profits in old autos

Yonkers remanufacturer sees profits in old autos

All those imported cars still on the road after years of use are coming to the time where they will need new alternator; and starters. That’s bad news for drivers, but good news to a Yonkers remanufacturer of automobile parts looking to double its business by the year 2001.

Excelsior AEP Inc. has begun an expansion project designed to boost revenues from the $3.5 million projected for this year, to $5 million by the end of 1999. The company’s workforce, already doubled over the past three years from 35 to 70, will grow again by another 25 workers, vice president Stoney Smith said.

Through its expansion, Excelsior AEP hopes to capitalize on the growth of foreign cars on the nation’s roads in recent years. Many of those cars are now a decade old and ripe for new parts whose components are being made by the company.

Excelsior AEP is a remanufacturer of rotors, armatures and staters for alternators and starters used in foreign cars and light trucks sold in the United States. Those components a now sold primarily to “aftermarket” buyers ranging from individual mechanics to car-part chains, but Excelsior AEP also hopes to sell its goods to the companies that supply parts for carmakers.

“We realized the changes, and we have responded by adapting to them,” Smith said. “The people we sell to have the ability to buy these products m overseas. We have had to get bigger and automate more in order to survive.”

He said Excelsior AEP was forced to hold off on its expansion for 18 months until earlier this fall while it searched for financing to purchase needed equipment. After turning into stiff conditions from a lender, Excelsior AEP drew on its presence in a state Economic Development Zone to assemble $270,000 in loans from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and city of Yonkers, plus another $202,000 from the state Empire State Development Corp.

“We survived through perseverance and our absolute conviction that we had something that was going to work We also had the financial performance, good cash flow and the ability to generate new jobs,” Smith said. “This has convinced me that there has to be some means by which small business people under 5 million dollars in revenue — can get together as a group and tap into working capital and share experiences running our businesses.”

Founded by Smith’s father some three decades ago in New York City, Excelsior AEP moved to Yonkers in the 1970s. Four years ago, production was shut down for several weeks after the company’s plant on Lake Avenue was destroyed by fire. Excelsior AEP rebuilt its business using a $125,000 loan from Yonkers that the company paid back in 15 months — nine months ahead of schedule.

Excelsior is now in 38,000 square feet at 540 Nepperhan Ave. within the Yonkers Industrial Park and across a courtyard from its former headquarters. The industrial park consists of two buildings built a century ago for the old Alexander Smith Carpet Co. Alexander Smith moved to Mississippi in 1954, the first of hundreds of manufacturers that left Yonkers since World War II.

“When it’s all said and done, the local economy has to survive. The answer is not for everything to be made in Mexico or China. There’s a lot that can be manufactured in the U.S. — especially products for specialty markets or products requiring automation,” Smith said.

Copyright Westfair Communications Oct 26, 1998

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