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Clay County Business News

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Companies Continue to See the Cost Savings and Advantages of Moving Jobs to Jacksonville

Companies Continue to See the Cost Savings and Advantages of Moving Jobs to Jacksonville

Each year, more and more companies realize the strategic advantages of relocating and/or expanding their business to Jacksonville, Florida.  Clay County, located just south of Jacksonville, offers these same strategic advantages and expands on them through further cost savings, the logistal advantage of the First Coast Expressway, a stronger defense related business sector, and the second highest educated workforce in the region.  

Read Full Article by Roger Bull, October 14, 2016, Jacksonville.com Here  

Two of the three companies that received incentives this week moving jobs to Jacksonville

The big “Project Velo” is still a mystery, but the other two companies that the Jacksonville City Council approved incentives for this week will be bringing more jobs to Jacksonville.

Safariland will add 152 jobs to its plant near the Jacksonville International Airport by the end of 2018, the company confirmed this week. The incentive legislation said the company was considering Jacksonville along with other sites.

Campers Inn has already started moving some of its headquarters personnel from Kingston, N.H., to its property on General Avenue off Interstate 10. It had been considering Jacksonville and suburban Charlotte, N.C.

But there’s still no word about Project Velo, the unnamed company that is considering putting a distribution center at Cecil Commerce Center on the Westside that would bring up to 1,200 new jobs.

“Obviously it’s on their time frame,” said Jerry Mallott, president of JAXUSA Partnership. “I’m guessing we’ll hear something in the next 30 to 45 days. They did want to know it’s been approved, but it’s in their court now. We’ll just wait and see.”

Safariland, which makes body armor, holsters and other equipment for military and law enforcement, is reducing the size of its plant in Spencer, W.Va., a company spokeswoman said. While repair and service will remain in West Virginia, manufacturing will move to the Jacksonville plant on International Parkway.

Although some employees may move down, the majority of the 152 jobs will be filled with local hires, she said. The move will be phased in, but a significant portion of the positions should be filled by the end the end of the year, she said.

Fifty-two of the jobs will average $44,065 and the other 100 will average $33,000 annually, according to the city’s records.

Meanwhile, Campers Inn, which operates 15 RV dealerships including the one in Jacksonville, considered Jacksonville and suburban Charlotte for its headquarters before it chose Jacksonville.

Actually, there are some headquarters personnel at both locations and still in New Hampshire, said Ben Hirsch, chief operating officer.

“We’re not really looking to displace people,” he said. “But as people leave in the other locations, their jobs will probably be filled in Jacksonville.”

He’s expecting to add 22 jobs to Jacksonville over the next three years, but he said that could be conservative.

“Dealerships tend to grow pretty quickly when the headquarters is there,” he said. “We’ll probably double in size.”

And he said the company chose Jacksonville for several reasons.

“We can have a hard time attracting people to New England because of the cost of living, tax rates and weather,” he said. “But Jacksonville is very attractive for all three. It has a good labor pool, and we want to hire professional people and pay good wages.”

It costs the company an average of 15 percent to 20 percent more per employee in New Hampshire than it does in Jacksonville.

“If we hire a marketing person straight out of college, we’d probably have to pay $50,000 to $60,000 in New Hampshire,” he said. “It’s in the $40s here.”

And real estate is far less expensive here than in New Hampshire. Hirsch bought a house in Oakleaf Plantation.

“I’m living in virtually the same cost house I was in New England,” he said. “But there’s a world of difference in the houses.”

His uncle, Jeffrey Hirsch, the company’s owner and president, has already purchased a house on the river off San Jose Boulevard.

One advantage Charlotte has, he said, is a hub airport. He can catch nonstop flights to all the company’s southern locations from Jacksonville, but the northern locations usually require a layover, often in Charlotte.

 

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The Clay Florida Economic Development Corporation provides concierge service for companies who want to re-invest in expansion in the county or relocate their companies to the region.

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