John Catsimatidis wants to build paper bag factory in upstate New York
The Cats is in the bag.
John Catsimatidis has settled on his next business venture — paper bags. The Gristedes billionaire is looking to build a factory in upstate New York to produce them in response to the state’s new law phasing out plastic shopping bags, which went into effect last week.
In a letter obtained by The Post, Catsimatidis asked the Syracuse-based chamber of commerce CenterState Corporation for Economic Opportunity for help to move the process along.
“Industry experts advise that there will be a massive shortage of paper bags and this will harm both consumers and store owners and make the new law unworkable.” Cats said in the memo addressed to CenterState boss Robert Simpson.
“To try to remedy this situation for all New Yorkers I am interested in creating or building a facility for the production of paper bags in the CenterStreet region,” he added. “This, of course, will be an economic development opportunity for that region.”
The bag ban was passed by the state legislature in March 2019. It sailed through the Senate and Assembly where Democrats hold overwhelming majorities. As the deadline to dump plastic approached this month, retailers were hit with bag shortages and a coalition of bodega owners sued New York state demanding a temporary delay so they could have more time for the transition.
With his own business directly affected by the ban, supermaket mogul Catsimatidis has been one of the new law’s most outspoken opponents — even taking out a full page ad in the New York Post to voice his protest.
“I believe in recycling. We have been recycling the plastic bags,” he told The Post with exasperation. “I come from a generation where we got rid of paper bags because we didn’t want to kill billions of trees.”
Catsimatidis estimated his upstate facility could be completed within a year and would lead to the creation of hundreds of jobs. He also insisted he wasn’t doing it for the money.
“Paper bags are costing 10 cents a piece. Plastic are a penny or two a piece. I am trying to bring the costs down to a reasonable number and not let people rip off the consumer and the store owners of New York,” he said. “I don’t care about profits at this point.”
In a statement, CenterState told The Post they has received the letter and had reached out to Catsimatidis to explore how they could help move the project forward.
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