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2016 Top States for Doing Business Commentary: “Sunshine States” Continue to Lead the Pack

Oftentimes, it all boils down to the basics. In Area Development’s 30th Annual Corporate Survey, 83.7 percent of the executives responded that available buildings were either important (48 percent) or very important (35.7 percent) in making a location decision. Available buildings, along with available land, occupancy/construction costs, and expedited government permitting, were all rated as important in making a location decision by more than 70 percent of respondents. Related Research That is why it is no surprise that the “sunshine states” continue to lead the pack. There is a high probability that in nine of the top 10 states (Northern Indiana being the only exception) developers and users can build 365 days of the year. Winter weather conditions typically do not halt construction, and the permitting processes are ranked the most favorable in the country. According to research from Cushman & Wakefield, as of Q2 2016, there are 4.0 billion square...
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2016 Top States for Doing Business: Georgia Back in Top Spot Again

What’s it take to be recognized as a top state for doing business? On one hand, it’s a complicated question to answer, because there are a lot of factors that go into that kind of a reputation. On the other hand, you can get a pretty good idea of what it takes by checking out the attributes of some of the states that top the list. The overall cost of doing business is, of course, a primary consideration, one that encompasses a wide range of components, from real estate costs to utility rates to labor expenses. The environment created by state and local leaders plays a big role, too — the choices they make on tax structures and business incentives can tip the scales on cost, and they also can impact the no-hassle factor driven by their overall responsiveness, their regulatory practices, and how fast they respond to permitting requests. And...
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KeHE Distributors Opens Distribution Hub In Aurora, Colorado

Related Research KeHE Distributors, a company that provides Natural & Organic and Specialty products to natural food stores, chain grocery stores, independent grocery stores and other specialty product retailers, opened its new state-of-the-art 270,000-square-foot distribution center in Aurora, Colorado . The new hub joins KeHE's network of 17 distribution centers that provide natural, organic and specialty products to natural food stores, grocery stores and other specialty retailers throughout North America, company officials said. "Our new site demonstrates our commitment to serving a geographically diverse customer base and employing innovative practices and sustainability measures that enhance our operations," said Brandon Barnholt, President/CEO, KeHE. "It's another exciting step in our journey as a Certified B Corp and as a trusted supplier to our customers." According to company officials, with LEED Gold certification the facility employs energy-efficient practices throughout its operations, from water heaters and HVAC to sky lights and lighting...
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T&E Meats Expands Meat Processing Plant In Harrisonburg, Virginia

Related Research T&E Meats will expand its meat processing facility in the City of Harrisonburg, Virginia . The company will create seven new jobs and invest more than $600,000 as part of its expansion. The firm will invest in the building improvements and equipment to expand its existing U.S. Department of Agriculture-inspected meat processing facility. According to state officials, T&E Meats will fill an important meat processing role for producers across the state, processing meat for private labels, in addition to providing custom processing services to larger customers. T&E Meats serves more than 250 customers each year and maintains approximately 80 individual independent farm labels at a time. The company will increase its capacity by one third and source 90 percent of its inputs from Virginia-grown livestock producers. The Commonwealth of Virginia is partnering with the City of Harrisonburg and T&E Meats on this project through the Governor’s...
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Ivory Ella Opens Westerly, Rhode Island, Headquarters

Related Research Ivory Ella, an online retailer, opened its new headquarters in Westerly, Rhode Island . “Today’s ‘shirt-cutting’ is another signal that companies are taking a fresh look at our state. I am so happy to officially welcome Ivory Ella to Rhode Island,” Governor Gina M. Raimondo said. “We have worked hard to make Rhode Island a better state for businesses of all sizes.” “We continue to be impressed by the warmth of our welcome to Rhode Island, and I’m confident that this move is the right one for us,” Ivory Ella Co-Founder Ryan Duranso said. “We are absolutely thrilled to get up and running, as well as contribute to the success of the state.” Ivory Ella is relocating all 40 of its current jobs, 19 of which qualify under Rhode Island’s Qualified Jobs Incentive Tax Credit program. Additionally, the company has committed to expanding by at least...
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Southern Motion Plans $20 Million Investment In Baldwyn, Mississippi

Related Research Reclining furniture manufacturer Southern Motion is expanding in Baldwyn, Mississippi . The company will invest $20 million to expand at the former Hancock Fabrics location in Harry A. Martin North Lee Industrial Park. The company plans to create 600 jobs at its new 758,000-square-foot facility situated on 64.5 acres. Southern Motion currently employs 250 in Baldwyn and 1,200 in Pontotoc. The company expects to begin operations in its new Baldwyn location in January 2017. “We are very excited for the opportunity to expand our business in Baldwyn. This would not have been possible without the Governor and the Mississippi Development Authority’s commitment to grow our existing industries in the state,” said Southern Motion President/CEO Roger Bland. “On behalf of the Southern Motion family, we sincerely appreciate MDA, TVA, CDF, Lee County, as well as Pontotoc and Prentiss Counties for all of their support in making this...
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Solid Gold Pet Opens Corporate Headquarters In Chesterfield, Missouri

Related Research Solid Gold Pet, America’s first holistic pet food brand, opened its new corporate headquarters in Chesterfield, Missouri . The facility will increase the company's operations team. “After celebrating more than 40 years as the leading premium, holistic pet food company, we are thrilled to start the next chapter of Solid Gold Pet in St. Louis,” said Bob Rubin, CEO/President of Solid Gold Pet. “Our supply chain and manufacturing facilities are also located in the Midwest. Housing our corporate offices in St. Louis will allow Solid Gold Pet to centralize our support for our customers and vendors, which means increased efficiency and productivity.” Solid Gold Pet will be hiring more than 20 employees over the next several months to support operations at its new dog-friendly headquarters in the nation’s pet food industry capital. The company is moving into St. Louis in coordinated waves to avoid any disruptions...
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Ampirical Solutions Expands Electrical Transmission-Distribution In St. Tammany Parish, Louisiana

Related Research Ampirical Solutions will create 50 new direct jobs to expand its electrical transmission infrastructure and distribution firm in St. Tammany Parish, Louisiana . Based in Mandeville, Louisiana, the company specializes in the design of substations, relay switchyards, protective relays and controls, transmission lines, distribution lines and related operations. “Our desire is to demonstrate the ability of highly technical companies to grow and flourish in this state,” President Matthew Saacks said. “Accelerated hiring is critical for Ampirical to compete for the talent it needs to continue its success in executing projects. Ampirical offers prime careers for engineering professionals and related jobs, such as project managers, designers and drafters. Furthermore, Louisiana has strong numbers of both experienced talent and college graduates to staff our growing workforce.” “This homegrown company is bringing dozens of technical, high-paying jobs to Mandeville and the region with this expansion,” Governor John Bel Edwards...
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Clif Bar & Company Opens $90 Million Bakery In Twin Falls, Idaho

Related Research Clif Bar & Company, an organic and nutritious food manufacturer, opened its $90 million bakery in Twin Falls, Idaho . The bakery is a one-of-a-kind, sustainability-focused facility that intentionally uses biophilic design, a cutting-edge approach that connects people in buildings with nature. The new 300,000-square-foot bakery includes more than 200 windows, vaulted skylights, light-directing solatubes, indoor walls of recycled barn wood and natural stone, indoor plants, and sliding doors that connect an auditorium to an outdoor event space. A packaging area without exterior windows offers wall-projected images of the natural outdoors that rotate daily. “It was really important to us that our Twin Falls bakery embodied our company values,” said Kevin Cleary, CEO, Clif Bar, a leading maker of nutritious and organic food. “We wanted it to be a healthy, welcoming place for people to work—a workplace that sustains our people, the community and the planet.”...
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F.W. Webb Company Constructing Central Distribution Hub In Londonderry, New Hampshire

Related Research The F.W. Webb Company began construction of its planned one-million-square-foot Central Distribution facility in Londonderry, New Hampshire . F.W. Webb Company provides products, services and expertise to residential, commercial, industrial, institutional, and municipal professionals. F.W. Webb carries extensive inventory of top-quality products for construction, renovation, maintenance, repair and operational needs. Plumbing, Heating, HVAC, Commercial Refrigeration, and PVF are among the company's 15 distinct disciplines. The facility will replace and be more than double the size of the company's current CD in Amherst, New Hampshire. "Opening a much larger Central Distribution facility represents a major investment in our operations and a significant commitment to our customers and manufacturing partners," said Jeff Pope, President of the F.W. Webb Company. "This huge, state-of-the-art CD will allow us to offer our customers even more and better products, and reach further into the Northeast." "The new F.W. Webb facility will help...
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Dana Light Axle Products Expands Columbia, Missouri, Manufacturing Plant

Related Research Dana Light Axle Products plans to expand its manufacturing plant in Columbia, Missouri . The facility currently produces parts for major OEMs including Ford, GM and Nissan. The company’s $39 million expansion is expected to create 135 new jobs over the next few years, as well as retain its current workforce of 90 team members. “Columbia, Missouri is an excellent place to live and a great place for business,” said Scott Wright, Plant Manager at Dana Light Axle Products Columbia Facility. “Our company and family of employees are proud to be part of the community here. We pride ourselves on delivering exceptional products and services to our customers throughout the automotive marketplace and we look forward to this proposed expansion, which will likely extend our plant’s operations into the future.” To help Dana Light Axle Products with its expansion, the state offered a strategic economic incentive...
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Kruger Products Expands Trenton, Ontario, Manufacturing Plant

Related Research Kruger Products, a leading Canadian manufacturer and distributor of tissue products for household use, is undertaking a multi-million dollar expansion at the company's plant in Trenton, Ontario . The company will create 119 new jobs and retaining 184 positions. "We are excited about growing our Trenton plant and expanding our export opportunities. This project will significantly bolster our production capabilities and set us up for years of growth to come,” said Mario Gosselin, CEO, Kruger Products." As an incentive, Kruger Products will receive a loan of up to $10 million through Ontario's Jobs and Prosperity Fund. The loan will help the company expand its commercial division and boost its market share in the United States. Kruger Products will install state-of-the-art equipment and set up eight new production lines. The project has a total value of up to $52 million and is expected to be completed by...
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Plum Creek Environmental Plans Manufacturing Facility In West Point, Mississippi

Related Research Plum Creek Environmental, manufacturer and distributor of waste and recycling containers and equipment, is expanding in North Mississippi, investing $825,000 and creating 50 jobs. The company is expanding into a larger facility previously occupied by Long Branch in West Point, Mississippi . “We are excited to find a property in West Point that will greatly enhance our production capacity and allow us to tap into a skilled talent pool of production welders,” said Jim Wamble, President/CEO of Plum Creek Environmental Technologies. “We appreciate the assistance of the GTR LINK, the Golden Triangle Planning and Development District, the Mississippi Development Authority, Clay County Board of Supervisors and the city of West Point in supporting our development. Plum Creek Environmental currently has 35 employees. The company expects to begin operations in its new West Point location by the beginning of 2017. Mississippi Development Authority is providing assistance for...
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Midea America Building R&D Center in Louisville, Kentucky

Related Research China-based Midea America Corp., a subsidiary of one of the world’s largest appliance makers, started construction on a $10 million research and development center in Louisville, Kentucky . The 30,000-square-foot Midea America Research Center, or MARC, will include custom-designed office, engineering and laboratory space as well as testing equipment. Employees will develop appliances for the North American market as the company looks to expand its global sales and customer base. Company executives expect MARC, located on Chestnut Station Court, to open by January 2017. It will replace Midea’s current Kentucky offices, established in 2015. “We are truly excited to break ground on this state-of-the-art R&D Center right here in Louisville, the epicenter of the ‘Appliance Corridor’ in the U.S.,” said Mark Wilson, director of technology for MARC. “As a Kentucky native, I’m proud to bring exceptional talent to the State and to keep the tradition of...
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Home Chef Plans Operations Hub In DeKalb County, Georgia

Related Research Home Chef, a meal kit delivery service, will create more than 1,200 jobs and invest $3.35 million in a new operations campus by 2020 in DeKalb County, Georgia . The new facility will serve as a wholesale purchasing, assembling, packaging and distribution center . To house the new center, the company will lease a 140,000-square-foot facility on Lithonia Industrial Boulevard. “We’re undergoing tremendous growth and are excited to expand our distribution footprint,” said Pat Vihtelic, Home Chef Founder/CEO. “The culture of collaboration makes Georgia the ideal location for us today and tomorrow. We’re confident that DeKalb has the skilled workforce necessary for us to achieve our ambitious growth goals.” “Home Chef is among the many innovative companies using Georgia’s high-performing transportation infrastructure to grow their distribution network,” said Governor Nathan Deal. “By establishing this new facility and utilizing the state’s skilled workforce, Home Chef will be...
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Lex Holding Opens Production Hub In Houston, Texas

Related Research Lex Holding Co, a distributor of flat rolled steel products for a variety of industries, opened its newest location, Lex South, in Houston, Texas . With its additional Lex West and Lex Central facilities serving the central and western regions of the U.S., this most recent location in the south allows them to provide its products and services throughout the continental United States, Mexico and beyond via the ports in Houston. According to company officials, with multi-generational experience in the metals and logistics industries, Lex South is projected to produce up to 15,000 tons of flat rolled steel per month, offering cold and hot rolled, coated, hot rolled pickled and oiled, stainless and aluminized steel with thickness ranges of .022-.375". “These products help serve a host of manufacturers based in the south and Mexico including: automotive; office furniture; metal building; light duty shelving; appliance as well...
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AbSci Relocates Headquarters To Downtown Vancouver, Washington

Related Research AbSci,a global leader in protein production technologies, will relocate its headquarters to the new Hudson Building in downtown Vancouver, Washington . According to company officials, AbSci expects to begin renovations by the beginning of September, with plans to occupy the state-of-the-art lab facility by the fourth quarter of this year, and continue to develop and commercialize its revolutionary protein production technology. AbSci's relocation to the downtown Vancouver area is a reflection of the commitment and support the company has received from the local community, CREDC, Killian Pacific, and the State of Washington, including a commitment of $200,000 from Governor Inslee's Strategic Reserve Fund to be used for the build out of AbSci's lab, company officials said. "The life sciences and global health sector is a leading driver in Washington State and growing rapidly, representing the fifth largest employment sector and contributing $12.5 billion to the state...
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Under Armour Plans Distribution Hub-Warehouse In Baltimore County, Maryland

Related Research Under Armour, an originator of performance footwear, apparel and equipment, plans to open a 1.3 million square-foot distribution and warehouse facility at Sparrows Point in Baltimore County, Maryland . The facility is part of the Tradepoint Atlantic redevelopment project. According to company officials, this will be Under Armour's fourth distribution facility in the United States and the second in the surrounding area of the company's headquarters in Baltimore, Maryland. The other Maryland facility is located in Curtis Bay and will continue to operate in addition to its Rialto, California and Mount Juliet, Tennessee distribution houses. The establishment of the Sparrows Point distribution house is expected to open in the summer of 2018. The facility is a collaboration with state and local officials and is expected to employ approximately 1,000 employees in the Baltimore area, once the facility is operating at its full capacity. The facility will...
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VWR Opens Manufacturing Hub In Solon, Ohio

Related Research VWR, the leading global independent provider of product and service solutions to laboratory and production customers, opened its manufacturing site Solon, Ohio . Earlier this year, VWR had six locations spanning the Solon, Ohio area, totaling approximately 150,000 square feet. The operations from five of the locations will relocate to the new building this year, with the sixth moving in several years. The new building totals 226,000 square feet, providing additional space and facilitating greater collaboration between VWR's employees. "Today is a joyous milestone in our history, especially for the many employees who have been personally involved in conceptualizing and shaping this new location," stated Michael Mascali, VWR's SVP of Compliance. "Today, we celebrate that hard work!" "The new location will enable better collaboration amongst our employees along with the opportunity for growth to meet market demand," stated Manuel Brocke-Benz, VWR's President/CEO. "We are excited to...
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Labor Force Challenges / Solutions in the Auto Industry

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Related Research U.S. Manufacturers Attempting to Upskill Their Workforces A Win-Win for Veterans & Companies Requiring Skilled Workers Investing in Workforce Benefits Employers and Their Communities Workforce: The Location Factor Companies Must Get Right Between June 2009 and June 2016, U.S. motor vehicle and parts employment has grown by nearly 50 percent. While the rate of employment growth is starting to slow, automakers and suppliers continue to hire at a brisk pace due to both increased hires and separations in the industry and an uptick in retirement attrition rates. When an industry is doing well, it is common to see more employees leaving their jobs in pursuit of better opportunities within the industry, so it is not surprising there appears to be more churn recently in the automotive and parts industries. The increase in retirement attrition rates is also expected, as workers who were not eligible to retire or take early...
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