FRESH APPROACH: Mantrose research scientist Xiaoling Dong puts fresh-cut lettuce into the environmental chamber for microbial testing.
By Patrick Anderson PBN Staff Writer
In the interstate tug of war over high-paying life science jobs, Rhode Island has won one small skirmish with the relocation of the Mantrose-Haeuser Co. labs from Attleboro to Lincoln this fall.
A century-old manufacturer and worldwide leader in bleach shellac, Mantrose-Haeuser in recent decades has produced the edible coatings that go on pharmaceuticals and an expanding number of foods – such as supermarket apples – that benefit from a shiny, protective layer.
As uses for Mantrose’s coatings have grown in the last decade, so have the space needs of the scientists in its research and development division, which had been working out of labs inside the company’s manufacturing plant on Olive Street in Attleboro.
The plant, which inhabits an old mill building tucked between the Ten Mile River and a thickly settled residential neighborhood close to downtown, just couldn’t provide the space and setting the company’s team of scientists needed.
“We started outgrowing our lab space in Attleboro – they were completely crammed in,” said Mantrose Marketing Director Karen Murphy. “Our vice president of research and development lives in Rhode Island, so we started looking around in that area for a new space.”
Despite moving its research and development division, Mantrose is keeping its manufacturing plant open in Attleboro, employing several dozen workers there.
Heading to Lincoln will be about 12 scientists, plus an administrator, Murphy said.
The new space will be “state of the art,” and was renovated by the owner of the building to suit Mantrose’s specifications, Murphy said.
Like many American manufacturers in recent years, Mantrose has moved some of its factory production overseas to India and China, where costs are much lower. Altogether the company, which is owned by RPM International of Medina, Ohio, has products ranging from adhesives and paints to candy glazes and nail polish.