Berkley's Bantam Tools Just Made the Big Move to Westchester

The Bay Area company is angling to make Peekskill the center of the first sustainable tech hub in the Hudson Valley.

Bre Pettis, CEO of Bantam Tools and former CEO-founder of popular 3D printing manufacturer MakerBot, was joined by city and state executives this week, to officially cut the ribbon on a project that’s been more than a year in the making: the company’s new East Coast headquarters and production center in Peekskill.

“This really marks our first step in creating a sustainable tech hub here in the Hudson Valley,” Pettis says. “When I thought about moving my company here — the commute to California was a little long — I thought, ‘Where could we thrive?’” Pettis, who moved to nearby Croton in 2013, thought the answer was staring him in the face.

“Manufacturing our desktop CNC machines in the United States — and specifically building them in Peekskill — is a great accomplishment. Moving the company from the San Francisco Bay Area to Peekskill signifies a goal to build a sustainable tech company in the Hudson Valley, an area with a diverse community, natural beauty, and affordable living all within an easy distance to New York City. It’s something that is very important to helping create happy employees.”

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Photo by Dave Zucker

Finished CNC machines line the work tables at Bantam Tools’ new headqquarters and manufacturing center in Peekskill.

“Peekskill continues to grow as a thriving art community with a range of businesses and a walkable downtown,” says New York State Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. “The decision for Bantam Tools to move to Peekskill from California underscores the momentum of growth in the area and the business-friendly climate in New York.” For emphasis, she cites the 54 jobs expected to be created by this enterprise in exchange for up to $600,000 in tax credits from a state awarded Excelsior Jobs Program grant, which rewards local job creation.

“These well-paying manufacturing jobs will boost the city’s economy and overall vitality,” says State Senator Pete Harckham.

The company is similar in intention to Pettis’ early MakerBot, in that it creates and sells professional quality tabletop fabrication devices. Yet where MakerBot was about 3D printing, Bantam produces CNC (Computer Numerical Control) machines, programable units to mill and manufacture individual custom pieces from metal and a variety of other materials.

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The units are roughly cubical, about a foot on each side, and weigh just around 14 pounds. Each piece is meticulously created on-site — apropos enough, by their own massive cousins, CNC millers the size of small camper trailers, weighing around 7 tons — and endures rigorous quality control before completing a finished desktop unit. The basic model retailed for $3,199

Currently, Bantam is housed at 135 North Water Street, near the recently completed Lincoln Museum, however the company has also purchased three other properties along the street, with tentative plans to eventually include a tech incubator, possible maker space, classrooms, a ceramics manufacturer, as well as artist and creator studios.

“Bringing Bantam to Peekskill is another example of the direction this great city is heading,” says Peekskill Mayor Andre Rainey. “This isn’t just another ribbon cutting and grand opening. This the beginning of a new future for Peekskill.”

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