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April 1, 2021 What's the Deal?

Old Saybrook PPE distributor relocating to North Branford after $1.7M industrial property buy

PHOTO | CoStar 55 Fowler Road in North Branford has 20,000 square feet of space, high 30-foot ceilings and truck docks.

An Old Saybrook company that sells personal protective equipment (PPE) and has seen significant growth over the last year is relocating to North Branford after purchasing a multi-building property in the town for $1.7 million.

American Protective Products sells PPE to the research laboratory market including everything from gloves, masks and respirators to face shields, gowns and caps — all items that have been in significant demand over the past year amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The company is moving its operations to North Branford at 49 and 55 Fowler Road.

The property was purchased in March by Fowler Road LLC, which is controlled by Dennis Zoufaly, a part owner of American Protective Products; Olivia Zoufaly is the majority managing owner of the company.

Dennis Zoufaly said American Protective Products has eight employees, distributes its products throughout the United States and needs more room for its product supply.

“We are anticipating considerable growth post-pandemic,” said Zoufaly, who also owns a pair of car dealerships in Branford and Milford. “We were growing before the pandemic, and that accelerated it. We are bringing in more inventory.”

The Fowler Road property includes three buildings on two adjoining lots covering 4.45 acres. There are two buildings on 49 Fowler Road that total 12,634 square feet. The third building at 55 Fowler Road is newer, built in 2013, and larger with 20,000 square feet. It also has high 30-foot ceilings, truck docks and a drive-in truck door.

Zoufaly said he was attracted to the property because of the size of the buildings and access to I-95 and I-91 highways.

The seller was Russ & Russ Realty LLC, which is controlled by Russell Vito and Russell D'Agostino Jr., state records show.

R&R Freight Logistics has been a tenant on the property but will be leaving it in June, Zoufaly said.

Commercial real estate broker Kevin Geenty, of The Geenty Group, Realtors, said there has been significant demand in Greater New Haven for industrial, warehouse and light manufacturing space.

And it’s helped breathe life into the commercial real estate market, despite the negative effects of COVID-19. He said business fell off a cliff during the early days of the pandemic last year, but from late April through the rest of 2020 his firm’s business increased 250% compared to the year-ago period.

Much of the activity is being driven by demand for industrial real estate.

Geenty brokered the Fowler Road deal.

“It’s insane demand for warehouse and distribution space,” said Geenty, who added that he’s seeing a lot of demand from local manufacturers needing more space with high ceilings.

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