Welcome to Orange Aurora Products

While the opening of Edison Road is still underway progress for one of its businesses is moving forward.

Aurora Products has officially moved into the old Finlay Fine Jewelry building at 205 Edison Road.

With the addition of a large number of employees Orange merchants should expect an increase in business including shopping and dining.

Aurora Products packages and roasts high quality fresh, natural and organic dried fruits, nuts, trail mixes, salad toppings, and granolas.{{more}}

Owner Stephanie Blackwell said the move took place last week actually starting on July 26.

Blackwell purchased the property for $2.5 million and said once all the work is completed; including the move, she will have invested $8 million into her expansion. Angel Commercial LLC was the real estate broker who handled the sale of the building.

Before looking at the Edison Road site Blackwell said she made an offer on the infamous Stew Leonard’s property on Marsh Hill Road.

“My offer was turned down,” she said.

Blackwell’s success story began 16 years ago.

With a graduate degree in chemistry from the University of Albany she worked for a short time at Bell Labs, then raising four children.

In her early 40s she started the company. She and her former husband Richard Blackwell had a sprout business.

Blackwell said Aurora Products is in line to make $16 million this year.

“Last year we had eight percent growth. This year we’ve had 20 percent growth so far,” she said.

Blackwell said she started with two employees.

Elda Marrero was one of those two.

“I am very happy here. I love Stephanie and what she has created,” Marrero said. She is now the production coordinator.

Blackwell started her business in a building in Bridgeport. When she outgrew that location she moved to Stratford.

The new 100,000 square foot building has been custom fitted for the company’s needs.

Aurora Products employs about 200 employees, mostly full time. Around the holidays they may add more Blackwell said.

Her employees are important to her Blackwell said, and she has Human Resource Director Janice Welfare working to make sure that transportation is worked out for the mostly Stratford/Bridgeport residents so they can make the trek to Orange.

“I have some really good people. I would hate for them to say they can’t come (to Orange). They are the heart and soul of Aurora,” she said.

Blackwell said her company is known for its high quality products.

“We’re like the navel orange instead of juice oranges,” she said

The business does many private labels.

In fact, she said, 60 percent of her products are hand packed for those private labels, and are in many well-known grocery and specialty stores.

They include Stop & Shop’s Natures Promise, Whole Foods, Price Chopper, TJ Maxx, Marshal’s, Zabar’s, A&P, Shop Rite and Hannaford.

All of the products and some very exclusive oils and vinegars are available at her first company store, Wild Acorns at 516 Boston Post Road.

The store, appealingly laid out, has more than 50 types of specialty oils and vinegars along with a complete line of her healthy snacks. Additionally Blackwell has opened up the space for meetings offering groups oil and vinegar tastings which have proven to be eye-opening and mouth-watering for attendees.

Both her sons work in the business.

Greg works at Wild Acorns and Matthew, is Director of Operations.

“He has been very instrumental in our move,” Blackwell said.

Aurora Products is also environmentally conscious. Packaging materials includes the use of recycled plastics, and energy is conserved by recycling bio-fuels from oils used in the nut roasters. She also works closely with her utility company shutting down the plant for a few hours to conserve usage during peak hours.

Not all of Aurora Products is leaving Stratford right now.

Blackwell said she still has a three-year lease on the property so the Organic Building is staying along with the nut roasting production.

She has already lined up healthcare services for her employees with Stony Creek Urgent Care.

According to Dr. David Young, owner of Stony Creek Urgent Care of Orange “We are happy to partner with this family owned business to offer high quality and efficient occupational and emergency medical care. The goal is to return employees back to work healthy and in a timely fashion,” Young said.

She has also lined up Cornerstone Staffing, another Orange business that will benefit from the relocation.