Cal Ripken Jr. onhand for ribbon cutting at Northern Safety in Frankfort

By Gary Liberatore

Northern Safety, based in Frankfort, is a leading supplier of occupational health and safety products, and now the company can customize those products themselves in an additional 65,000-square-foot facility on Industrial Park Drive, just doors down from the company's headquarters.

Northern Safety owner and CEO Sal Longo says the new customization facility is expected to create between 50 and 100 jobs.

Area politicians and chamber of commerce leaders were on hand to witness Longo cut a ribbon in front of the new facility Monday afternoon.

One other person standing behind Longo was baseball great Cal Ripken Jr..

Ripken endorses Northern Safety products, and many of their products now have his name on them.

Longo says he was watching Ripken endorse another company several years ago on TV, and thought the man called "Ironman" would the perfect spokesperson for his company as well.

Longo says the rest is history and is glad Ripken decided to work with Northern Safety.

"You know, here's a guy that played in 2,632 games straight without a loss time work incident, which is the way I was thinking about it," Longo said. "And being in safety and protecting people and to create awareness, I thought it was a great fit."

Ripken agreed, and is featured on just about all of Northern Safety's advertisements.

Ripken made the trip up from Maryland on Monday to witness Northern Safety's expansion but says he believes this new facility is just the beginning of bigger things to come for the Frankfort company.

"I like the values and the principals," Ripkin said.  "I love the company.  Northern Safety is a big economic value to the community, and it's recognized and in many ways.  Sal is just getting started, trying to figure out how to grow the company and get bigger and bigger."

Longo, a 1981 Proctor High School graduate, says he started this business 30 years ago, "We started selling out of a truck, Band-aids, first-aid supplies, gloves... and pretty much grinded it out for 30 years."

He says Ripken stands for durability, which may be an understatement.

Ripken broke Lou Gehrig's consecutive games played streak on Sept. 6, 1995, playing in his 2,131st straight game.

He continued that streak three more years and voluntarily ended it at 2,632 straight games.

Monday afternoon Ripken talked about the accomplishment.

"The cool thing about the streak, I didn't set out to break Lou Gehrig's record, but it was the way people related to a work ethic in which I think is very American, which is alive and well here at Northern Safety," Ripkin said. "There's a sense of responsibility.  Your team, or your business, is relying on you to be there each and every day, so people take great pride in doing their job."

Among the new hires at Northern Safety's new customization center is Jake Izzo of Frankfort who says this ribbon cutting seems to come at a time when good news is coming week after week here in the Mohawk Valley,

"Everything's growing in our area," Izzo said.  "Things seem to be flourishing and blooming.  We have a lot of new clients coming in.  Every week we have new clients, the jobs keep adding up, we can't keep up, business is great right now."

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