County officials on Tuesday approved four separate economic incentive packages that would lure approximately 320 jobs to the county over the next several years.
Those deals came the same day that another company — appliance and electronics retailer h.h.gregg, which is not getting any financial incentives — announced it is starting to hire people to fill the 60 positions at its Port Richey store opening this fall.
All of this is welcome news in a county where unemployment still hovers around 10 percent. Commissioner Ann Hildebrand noted two of the companies lining up incentives would be relocating from out of state.
"It's nice to see people moving from other parts of the country to Pasco," she said.
The most immediate jobs come from h.h.gregg, which isn't relocating, but expanding its Florida footprint. The retailer is opening a new store in the old Target building at 6411 Tacoma Drive in Port Richey. It needs commissioned sales associates, managers-in-training, warehouse staff and customer service merchandisers. Anyone interested in applying may visit www.hhgregg-jobs.com.
The four companies that lined up county incentives on Tuesday aren't hiring yet. In fact, a couple of them have not yet committed to moving to Pasco County for sure. But lining up the incentives is a step toward helping them make their decision.
The county incentives total more than $250,000 between the four businesses and are the local match for the state's Qualified Target Industry program. The program requires jobs to exceed an area's average wage. The jobs would be a mix of manufacturing and call center positions.
The biggest project is from the call center firm 1Brick LLC. It would bring an expected 200 jobs over five years to a location along U.S. 19. The company provides back-end support services for insurance and financial services firms.
"We're very excited about the potential to move here and look forward to being here," said Sam Bloomfield, an executive vice president with the company, which has not made a final decision on coming to Pasco.
Other projects include:
• Seventy-five jobs from SB Manufacturing, which would make aluminum casting for auto companies. It would partner with an existing aluminum recycling business in the Dade City Business Park. President John Stiefel said the jobs would produce parts currently made in China.
• Forty jobs from Tampa Bay CoPack, which is an existing bottling company in the Dade City Business Center. It plans to add a bottling line for carbonated drinks in addition to lines for water and juice.
• Ten jobs from J.T.D. Enterprises, a small manufacturer that would relocate from Michigan. Owner Deni Nihra said Pasco would bring the business closer to its markets.