With the move to Southbury, electric car charger company Gyre9 expects production to increase 20-fold

SOUTHBURY – As the pandemic has wreaked havoc across much of the business sector over the past 18 months, Oxford businessman and entrepreneur Ed Gilchrest’s Gyre9 company has been one of the lucky companies to experience growth and success.

Gyre9 manufactures several items. But it’s the demand for electric vehicle chargers, which Gyre9 is commissioned to manufacture for JuiceBarEV in Norwalk, that has generated steady growth.

Because its current space allows for a maximum of 50 chargers produced per week, Gilchrest will be moving its main office and production company to a larger location this fall in Southbury. With the move to the larger facility, Gilchrest will hire an additional 100 to 150 employees and have the potential to produce 1,000 chargers per week.

“Our charger division is growing much faster than our other manufacturers,” said Gilchrest. “Our current facility in Oxford is small at 11,000 square feet. We had to move and find a bigger space in order to increase production.

He spent several months researching locations in towns within a 20 mile radius of Oxford.

“By moving to a bigger site, I didn’t want to go too far where I would lose employees,” Gilchrest said.

Its 43 employees come from places like Danbury, Middlebury and Shelton. He and his wife, Wendy, who runs the manufacturing side of the business, live about four miles from the Oxford site.

“I found a site in Southbury that was a perfect match,” he said. “It’s quite large and Southbury is ideally located for my employees, just a few exits from where we are now.”

Gilchrest did not want to buy any property and said he was renting space in the Romatic Manufacturing building at 1200 Main St. South in Southbury, just off Exit 14 on I-84. After the move is complete, Gilchrest said he would still maintain a smaller part of the operation at the current Oxford site, at Exit 16 of I-84.

The company is reaching a maximum of 50 chargers per week in Oxford, but its goal is to manufacture 250 chargers per week in the first quarter in Southbury.

“But the new building is designed to do more and the ultimate goal is 1,000 weeks,” he said. “It also means that we will need around 100 to 150 additional employees to do it.”

The new site is almost four times the size of Oxford’s space at 40,000 square feet. Gilchrest said the Southbury site will require cleaning and upgrading, and that it will need to go through the typical planning and zoning process before the move begins. But Gilchrest is excited about the growth opportunity that the larger space will bring to Gyre9.

“We design the chargers, design them and manufacture them for JuiceBar because they don’t have that capability,” said Gilchrest. “We give them the chargers, the finished product, and they are the ones who distribute and sell it to individuals and businesses. “

Gyre9’s products stand out from other charger manufacturers, he said.

“We build a tough, reliable level of charger, and we’re the only company that can claim our chargers are made in America,” said Gilchrest. “Everything we use comes from an American factory. We also have innovative security features which make our product the safest on the market. “

The company builds “level 2” chargers that charge a bit faster – around three to four hours – than typical chargers at that level, he said.

“This makes it ideal for people who are at home for a few hours, just plug it in,” he said. “It’s like having your own gas pump at home.

Gilchrest said the JuiceBar chargers produced by Gyre9 cost around $ 6,000 each.

Chargers are not only used for electric cars. This includes electric buses, trucks and delivery trucks. JuiceBar has a fleet market division that sells chargers to bus fleet companies that use electric buses.

The main reason Gyre9 has been almost unfazed by the pandemic is the growth of the electric car industry and the supply and demand for electric vehicle chargers. Gilchrest said he felt lucky to be able to take advantage of this growth and create jobs in the process.

Connecticut is an example of this growth.

The number of electric vehicles registered in the state rose from 12,600 in 2020 to 17,200 cars in July, according to data from the Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles. In an effort to reduce carbon emissions, Governor Ned Lamont recently announced the goal of having 125,000 electric vehicles on the road by 2025.

There are currently around 150,000 chargers in the country, but he estimates there will be 100 million electric cars on the roads over the next 20 years, Gilchrest said.

“It means a need for a lot more chargers,” he said. “There are many companies like the ones that make mine chargers. But the market is growing so fast that anyone can benefit from it. “

Gilchrest started his business in 2006 and has built a studio and a boutique on his property. It has always had a manufacturing side and an engineering side. Other items the company designs and manufactures include power tools and medical supplies.

“Our business has grown steadily, we have exceeded the space on my property and two and a half years ago we moved to our current location,” said Gilchrest. “We struggled a bit during the pandemic with the slowdown in our other design activities. But the electric vehicle charger industry has grown steadily and it has become the opportunity of a lifetime. “

“The future looks exciting and we look forward to moving to the Southbury site,” he added.

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