N.J. manufacturers showcase wares, air issues

The way James Carney sees it, his family-owned business is precisely the type of manufacturing operation New Jersey lawmakers should be working to protect.

Carney, marketing and sales director of Hackensack-based Widmer Time Recorder Co., said his 78-year-old maker of time- and date-stamp machinery employs about 41 people – down from about 51 in 2008 when the economy went into its downward spiral – but is holding its own in a competitive, increasingly paperless society.

Widmer was one of approximately 24 manufacturers holding court Monday in the Statehouse corridors during the NJBIA “Made in New Jersey” exhibition held to remind lawmakers of the importance of manufacturing in the Garden State.

Asked about one of the biggest impediments to small companies, Carney did not hesitate to name the increasing health care costs.

“We want to provide health care to our employees,’’ he said, “but it is a tremendous expense. We can’t raise our prices to customers 30 percent, but health care costs eat away at our (profit) margins.”

His indicated that his company, whose annual revenues he estimated have dipped to $4 million from a range of $5 million to $6 million during the recessionary period, needs the legislative help of a business-friendly political climate.

Carney said they export goods into China and into African countries.  “A lot of people don’t realize the things that are still made in New Jersey,’’ he said.

Another thing participants in the daylong exhibition outside the Assembly and Senate chambers wanted to remind lawmakers of is the ripple effect of state-based manufacturing.

Daniel Soto, marketing coordinator of Bellmawr-based, sustainable-furnishings company Concord Products,  said that according to their calculations, one employee earning $30,000 pays $4,500 in total wage taxes, and that 60 percent of their vendors are within a 2.5-mile radius.

“We want to show support for New Jersey businesses,’’ said Soto, whose 43-year-old company employs approximately 300.

The exhibition organized by the N.J. Business and Industry Association was meant as an organized show of support for manufacturers and as a chance to communicate their concerns to lawmakers.



N.J. manufacturers showcase wares, air issues