People, support spur expansion at Vigon

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Photo by Christopher Holland:  Vigon International in Monroe County has grown from 10 to 65 employees in the past 15 years.
Photo by Christopher Holland: Vigon International in Monroe County has grown from 10 to 65 employees in the past 15 years.

Doing business in Monroe County and the Poconos has proven advantageous for a fast-growing company in Smithfield Township.

“It's a great community with great people,” said Steve Somers, president and owner at Vigon International Inc. — a flavor, fragrance and cosmetic ingredient manufacturer and supplier.

Offering more than 2,000 different ingredients to companies that utilize these ingredients to manufacture fragrance for candles, cleaners, detergents, perfumes and flavor systems for food and beverages, Vigon is one of the fastest growing companies in the region.

Started in 1988 by Victor and Nancy Fulgoni on the same site it sits on today, Vigon was purchased by Somers in 1998. Somers has grown the company from 10 employees to 65, serving 600 customers in 40 nations around the globe.

Vigon has been selected five years running to the Inc. 5000 Fastest Growing Private Companies, demonstrating the financial success it has been able to achieve. It was recognized last year as the sixth fastest growing company on Lehigh Valley Business' list of the Top 25 Fastest Growing Companies, and just last month it received a Governor's ImPAct honor – the Small Business Impact Award – in a ceremony in Hershey.

DEVELOPMENT SUPPORT

The Pocono region has seen significant growth over the past few decades, and its location to major highways makes it easily accessible to cities such as New York and Philadelphia, as well as to the Greater Lehigh Valley.

“Proximity to Route 80 is very positive,” said Somers, who acknowledged that infrastructure – including road maintenance – has been an issue. Meanwhile, economic development support has been crucial.

“We have received the benefit of some economic development programs to support infrastructure improvements, and these programs assist Vigon in retaining and growing our workforce in Monroe County,” Somers said.

The Pocono Mountains Economic Development Corporation has been a big supporter of Vigon.

“We have received strong support from the [Monroe] County Commissioners as well,” Somers said. “We've also received strong support from [state] Representatives Rosemary Brown and Mario Scavello, most recently for a grant to run a gas line to us from its termination point over one mile away on Route 209.”

EXPANSION UNDERWAY

Successful companies usually always are looking forward. Vigon, for example, recently expanded to a second site about two miles from its present location.

“We have been exclusively in Smithfield Township on Airport Road [near East Stroudsburg], having built a number of buildings in the general proximity of the original building Vigon was founded in,” Somers said.

The second site, in Stroud Township on Crowe Road, is being used for warehousing.

Vigon also is under contract to buy the land adjoining its second site on Crowe Road to accommodate even more potential expansion.

Between its five buildings, Vigon operates a combined 105,000-square-feet manufacturing, distribution and office space.

And as the business grows its physical presence, a growing workforce will follow.

“Every one of us takes immense pride in our facilities and the quality of work. Mr. Somers genuinely puts the needs of his employees before his own to make this the best place to work,” said Jennifer Passamonte, marketing coordinator at Vigon.

She noted the pride and passion of Vigon's staff.

“We're like a family here,” she said. “A lot of people have been here for over 20 years.”

VALUABLE PARTNERSHIPS

Vigon has strategic partnerships with three of the four largest global manufacturers of flavors, fragrances and cosmetics – Givaudan, Firmenich and Symrise – and strategic partnerships with several large manufacturers of chemical ingredients for the market: BASF, Solvay, Evonik and DRT.

Vigon also has several customers throughout the Greater Lehigh Valley.

With an annual shipment exceeding 4 million kilograms in 2012, Somers said he expects that number to rise as his company continues to develop.

“Quality of our team is unsurpassed in the industry, as we have found employees from Monroe County really care about what they do,” Somers said.

Christopher Holland

Christopher Holland

Christopher Holland is a researcher for Lehigh Valley Business and blogs on arts and entertainment in the region.

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