SOUTHINGTON – Gov. Ned Lamont and other state and local leaders toured Juniper Design Group Tuesday, praising the company for its growth since relocating to town from New York in 2019.
Shant Madjarian, founder and president of Juniper Design Group, led Lamont and the other visitors on a tour of Juniper’s 20,000 square foot building at 157 Water Road. Along the way, they visited the machine floor and discussed the company’s history as well as what the state has been doing to grow the manufacturing sector.
Lamont was joined on the tour by DECD Commissioner David Lehman and Danté Bartolomeo Interim Commissioner, Connecticut Department of Labor. He was also accompanied by local Economic Development Director Lou Perillo III and Town Council Chair Victoria Triano.
Madjarian informed Lamont that he is originally from Montréal, Québec, where his parents had run a chandelier company for 35 years. Madjarian moved to New York in 2000 and, after a decade of working a career in finance, he started Juniper Design Group in 2014 as a passion project. Based on a “modular LED lighting concept”, Juniper eventually expanded into architectural lighting systems as well. In 2018, Madjarian was eying an expansion and he would ultimately move his headquarters from Brooklyn, N.Y. to Southington in 2019.
“We needed a larger space – this building is 20,000 square feet and our old headquarters was 5,000 square feet,” said Madjarian. “We also knew that there was a lot of local manufacturing talent here. It was clear that Southington was right the right sort of environment to grow our manufacturing business.”
Madjarian has since expanded his workforce by 130%, creating 36 new jobs. He also informed Gov. Lamont that he became an official American citizen two months ago.
“The town has been very supportive and we were fortunate to be designated an essential business during the pandemic,” he said. “We have now started to outgrow this space and we’re looking to again increase our capacity. Southington has been such a good fit for us and we’ve already invested so much in this community that we want to find that space in town.”
Madjarian attributed some of Juniper Design Group’s success to the unique aesthetic of their light fixtures. The pieces of the lighting fixtures can snap together using magnets to create different geometric shapes.
“The design of architectural lights is often solely driven by function,” he said. “We bring in elements of design and emotion.”
Juniper Design Group also benefitted from the “Manufacturing Innovation Fund”, which provides grants of up to $50,000 to help companies to purchase new equipment to facilitate their growth. Prior to the tour with Lamont, Madjarian said he was curious to learn more about the governor’s vision for growing manufacturing in the state. Immediately following the tour, he said he was pleased by his response.
“I felt that he answered all of my questions and was very helpful,” said Madjarian.
Lamont stopped at several work-stations along the tour and introduced himself to employees. He remarked that the fixtures he saw were “beautiful.”
“Crystal is so yesterday,” he joked upon seeing the LED fixtures.
After the tour, Lamont remarked that he was pleased to see that a company that relocated to Connecticut was “growing fast” and offering employees higher than minimum wages. The minimum wage for an entry-level assembly position is $16 an hour.
“Between the Manufacturing Innovation Fund to help companies buy the equipment they need and apprenticeship programs to help fill job positions, we’re doing everything we can to have more companies like Juniper grow and expand in Connecticut,” he said. “This is a great success story.”
Lehman added that it was great to see a company move to Connecticut and make the sorts of significant investments Juniper has.
“This is exactly what Connecticut and Southington needs,” he said.
Bartolomeo said that Juniper is an “amazing company” which has benefitted from Connecticut’s best programs.
“They have product that is innovative and unique,” she said. “I am so glad to see them experiencing this growth.”
Triano remarked that Juniper’s building was “beautiful” during the tour. She recalled when Madjarian first introduced his business to the town council prior to their move.
“I could see that they were a well-oiled machine that would be a great benefit to the town,” she said. “I hope that we can find them a place to expand to.”
Perillo said he was “very appreciative” of Governor and state officials for recognizing the efforts of a local business. He said that Juniper invested $3 million to transform the former tool factory building into their new headquarters in 2019.
Brian M. Johnson can be reached at 860-973-1806 or email@example.com.