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Conn.'s Zlotnick Construction Tackles Projects Large, Small, In-Between

Thu May 18, 2023 - Northeast Edition #11

(L-R) are Bob Nason of Able Tool & Equipment; Greg Zlotnick of Zlotnick Construction; and Sharon Beebe.
(CEG photo)
(L-R) are Bob Nason of Able Tool & Equipment; Greg Zlotnick of Zlotnick Construction; and Sharon Beebe. (CEG photo)
(L-R) are Bob Nason of Able Tool & Equipment; Greg Zlotnick of Zlotnick Construction; and Sharon Beebe.
(CEG photo) An inside view of one of Prides Corner Farms staging areas where plants are assembled ready for shipping. Zlotnick Construction is responsible for all of the concrete slab work, excavation and roadway construction.
(CEG photo) The loading dock area also was constructed by Zlotnick Construction.
(CEG photo) Zlotnick Construction currently is working on an expansion of Prides Corner Farms’ shipping slab with a 48 by 280-ft. addition installing 280 ft. of trench drain.
(CEG photo) Zlotnick Construction uses a Kenco Multilift from Able Tool & Equipment to install sections of precast concrete.
(CEG photo)

George Zlotnick started his company, Zlotnick Construction Inc., in 1948 after returning from World War II. He was a member of the Elite 17th Airborne Division that jumped behind enemy lines on March 24, 1945, in Wesel, Germany, as part of Operation Varsity. The largest airborne assault in history.

Zlotnick started his construction company in Mansfield Center, Conn., constructing small outbuildings such as chicken coops for local farmers, and, in a measure of diversity, he also had his own chicken farm, which was managed by his wife Zenia who was named "Poultry Woman of the Year" in 1955.

In 1957, much of the farm was destroyed by the first recorded tornado in Connecticut and had to be rebuilt with the help of family and friends. By 1958, the construction side had grown enough that Zlotnick Construction was incorporated. In 1972, his eldest son, Gregory, graduated from the University of Connecticut with an engineering degree and began his new role as CEO and president of the company.

The late '70s into the '90s was a period of great growth for the company. Zlotnick Construction became the general contractor of a number of fast-growing firms, including Dunkin Donuts, Burger Chef and Staples, and completed major commercial projects for companies such as First National Supermarkets, Pfizer, Foxwoods, Cigna and Pratt & Whitney.

Under Gregory's leadership, the company largely built its reputation on excellent work and strong business and personal relationships.

Today, the company continues to handle projects for massive corporations such as Walmart, Costco, BJ's Wholesale and Price Chopper. One of the projects that it has spent the largest amount of its time on with a constant presence over the past several years is a wholesale nursery called Prides Corner Farms located in Lebanon, Conn.

The nursery, which has been in business for approximately 30 years, incorporates 750 acres and contains approximately 70 mi. of greenhouses. The past decade has represented an astounding growth period for the company, which now distributes strictly wholesale plants, including annuals, edibles, trees — just about anything green that you can imagine — across the entire northeast, south to Virginia and west through Ohio.

On the day CEG visited, Zlotnick Construction was working on a 40-ft. by 280-ft. slab of concrete with a 280-ft. trench drain with seven down spouts for future plumbing where a cover would be installed over the slab. Projects like this can be small in scope compared with others, but there is always a project under way.

Projects Large, Small … and in Between

"Zlotnick Construction varies widely in the size and scope of projects that they address," said Gregory Zlotnick Jr., the founder's grandson, and current vice president of Zlotnick Construction. "The size and scope of each project dictates how the company approaches each one. Depending on the size and schedule of a given project, we may opt out to tackle it ourselves and put it out to bid.

"Over the years, our company has gained a good working knowledge of most all aspects within the construction industry. It puts us in a good position to oversee a project yet hire experts in the individual fields to execute the work."

"Here at Prides Corner Farms, the work that we have done has been spread out over 600 acres, and multiple locations.," Zlotnick said. "There are miles of hoophouses and roadways that we have been involved with helping maintain and construct."

"Besides ponds and roadways, we've installed thousands of feet of drainage to properly drain the areas around the greenhouses and reclaim as much water as possible for their irrigation systems" he added. "Additionally, utility lines have been laid throughout the complex and in the winter, we help keep the facility plowed out. The growing season is year-round, so the greenhouses need to stay accessible throughout the winter months. In a snowy winter, we are very busy helping with snow removal."

Zlotnick Construction's relationship with Prides Corner Farms started approximately nine years ago.

"Prides owner was innovating the methods that they used to load and unload their trucks," Zlotnick said. "Their plan involved a large concrete pad and new loading docks. We did a large part of the project for them. The existing slabs were removed and hauled off site and structural fill was brought in. The relationship continued to grow and shortly after completion, they had us back with our dozer grading roads followed by pond work and before we knew it, we were here pretty much full time helping with anything they needed. Since then, the relationship has been more of a partnership with each others employees working together each day.

Working With Able Tool and Equipment

Zlotnick Construction also has another division that specializes in doing makeovers and rehabs for major box stores such as Walmart. Periodically, major retailers will completely reconfigure and modernize a retail store.

"When this type of work is done, it is labor-intensive work, but it also calls for construction machines," Zlotnick said. "The challenge is you are working indoors and with environmental and OSHA requirements everything you operate needs to be zero emissions. Finding the right type and size of equipment that meets the no emissions [electric] standards can be quite a challenge.

"Over the years we have worked with Able Tool and Equipment in South Windsor, Conn., to meet those challenges. Yes, there has been a curve toward manufacturing electric machines like excavators, plate compactors and buggies, but it has been a slow curve.

"Able Tool and Equipment leads the industry in inventorying for sale and rent electric excavators, plate compactors, concrete buggies, compaction equipment, walk-behind saws and hammers. Really anything that we need we can get from a single source.

"We work closely with Bob Nason, our representative with Able Tool and Equipment. He sizes up the right equipment for each job and is an essential part of our bidding process. Our relationship with Able Tool & Equipment goes back before working with Bob Nason. We've done business with them for at least 15 years. I believe it started with some simple items like demo saws and over time it has grown. For the work at Prides Corner Farms and other projects, we just recently purchased a Wacker Neuson 6555 diesel plate compactor."

Zlotnick Construction ran into an issue a year or so ago with the construction of a new Chipotle when an engineering issue resulted in an excessive amount of water and soil being trapped on the inside of the shell of the building during the construction process.

"There were very limited options on how to resolve it and any of them were going to be expensive," Zlotnick said. "We worked closely with Able Tool and Equipment to rent a mini-excavator, a tracked buggy and a mini-tracked skid steer that you stand behind to operate to work — a solution that saved us thousands of dollars from a remediation plan that had been proposed. The remediation plan would have taken a significant amount of time to complete with an already pressing schedule. With equipment from Able Tool and Equipment we were able to complete the project in four days.

"A lot of what makes working with Able Tool and Equipment a good experience is their excellent communication. They return phone calls, they pay attention to our needs, they get us the equipment when we need it, they get back to us on pricing very promptly, it just works. When we had the issue with Chipotle, they had the equipment that we needed in our hands within 24 hours. We've had issues here at the farm where we needed water pumps now and they showed up almost immediately. I go back to the variety of items that they have at Able Tool and Equipment. They don't just have water pumps; they have every water pump you can imagine. They don't just have hammers; they have every hammer you could possibly need. They don't just have mini-excavators; they have every size mini-excavator you can imagine."

For more information, visit and CEG

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