Sunday, October 14, 2018
Business

Ashley Global Retail shows off e-commerce facility in Ybor City

YBOR CITY

Two movie theaters. An outdoor patio with couches and lounge chairs. A big cafe with flat-screen TVs and exposed brick walls.

Those are some of the features of Ashley Global Retail's three-story, 78,000-square-foot "first class millennial office" space in Ybor City.

Gov. Rick Scott, Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn and Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik were among the hundreds of people who gathered at Centro Ybor on Tuesday to celebrate the grand opening of the furniture retailer's new e-commerce center and corporate offices.

The office currently employs 200 people, nearly all new jobs for the expanding firm that owns and operates Ashley Furniture Homestores across the country, said Mark Dufresne, CEO of Ashley Global Retail. The retailer expects to hire up to 150 more workers as it continues to expand in Tampa, Dufresne added.

"Ashley sees the potential of this great city," said Vinik, who, through a partnership with Cascade Investment, the capital fund created by Microsoft billionaire Bill Gates, is investing $2 billion to transform downtown Tampa. "Tampa will boom in the next five, 10, 20 years. Ashley sees it. More people will continue to come here because of it for decades to come."

Ashcomm LLC, as the company is registered for business in Florida, will receive $320,000 over the next four years in state and local incentives for adding 40 new jobs with an average annual salary of $49,000, according to documents filed with the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity. That includes $64,000 from Tampa Bay area incentive programs.

"Florida is not an easy state to develop in elsewhere outside of Tampa," said Ron Wanek, founder of Ashley Furniture. "We're so thankful to be here in Tampa for that reason."

In addition to housing e-commerce workers and corporate team members, the facility will become a nationwide training center for other employees. The Ashley space took over half of the Muvico Centro Ybor 20, which now has 10 theaters. Two of the original theaters remain inside the renovated Ashley space, which will be used for presentations, training sessions and the occasional movie on a Friday night.

Executives billed the new center as a state-of-the-art office building meant for attracting and retaining millennial workers. Ybor City provides a "live-play-work" atmosphere in a historic part of Tampa Bay, said Ken Jones, CEO of Third Lake Capital, a private investment firm created by the Ashley Furniture family.

"We're the only company with a private movie theater," Jones said. "And Ybor City is now where our brain trust is."

Contact Justine Griffin at [email protected] or (727) 893-8467. Follow @SunBizGriffin.

   
Comments
Sun Dome no more: After years of struggle, can the new Yuengling Center find a soul?

Sun Dome no more: After years of struggle, can the new Yuengling Center find a soul?

TAMPA — Kelli Yeloushan slid the latest issue of VenuesNow magazine across her desk."We actually have a full-page ad that just came out today," she said.There on Page 55 of the concert industry trade mag was Yeloushan, director of events management a...
Published: 10/12/18
Updated: 10/13/18
Report: Insured damages for Hurricane Michael pegged at $3B to $5B

Report: Insured damages for Hurricane Michael pegged at $3B to $5B

CoreLogic projects that Hurricane Michael’s wind and storm surge caused between $3 billion and $5 billion in insured losses across all states the storm passed through. Of that, Florida is expected to account for $2.5 billion to 4 billion. "At this ti...
Published: 10/12/18
Nurses at HCA hospitals reach contract agreement

Nurses at HCA hospitals reach contract agreement

Registered nurses from 15 hospitals in Florida owned by the national chain, Hospital Corporation of America, have reached tentative agreements on union contract negotiations. Nurses across Florida and several other states have been picketing, and rec...
Published: 10/12/18
Roughly 350,000 still without power in Panhandle Friday morning

Roughly 350,000 still without power in Panhandle Friday morning

Roughly 343,700 Floridians were still without power as of noon Friday according to Gov. Rick Scott as utility crews worked to restore electricity after Hurricane Michael. While areas further east, such as Monticello, were already getting power back, ...
Published: 10/12/18
What Red Tide? New Florida tourism campaigns promote museums, craft beer and local experiences

What Red Tide? New Florida tourism campaigns promote museums, craft beer and local experiences

Visit Florida’s latest ad campaign doesn’t feature sprawling beach scenes with toes in the sand. Instead, look for craft beers, restaurants, museums and murals — a move designed to hook millennial travelers seeking to experience cities "like a local....
Published: 10/12/18
Facebook says hackers accessed 29M people's accounts

Facebook says hackers accessed 29M people's accounts

Facebook revealed that personal information for millions of users has been stolen by hackers.
Published: 10/12/18
Hurricane Michael reminds us it’s past time to get smarter about where we build

Hurricane Michael reminds us it’s past time to get smarter about where we build

Avoidance is a great way to mitigate risk. As in, get out of trouble’s way, or don’t be there to begin with.When it comes to hurricanes, that good advice is getting harder to heed. In Florida, we continue to build along our coasts, often just a few f...
Published: 10/12/18
Global business leaders suspend ties with Saudi Arabia

Global business leaders suspend ties with Saudi Arabia

By DANICA KIRKALONDON — Global business leaders are reassessing their ties with Saudi Arabia, stoking pressure on the Gulf kingdom to explain what happened to a dissident writer who disappeared after visiting its consulate in Istanbul. British billio...
Published: 10/12/18
Tampa apprentice works toward a brighter future in machining

Tampa apprentice works toward a brighter future in machining

Manufacturing Alliance meeting highlights the importance of training programs, need for workers.
Published: 10/12/18
Pinellas Juvenile Welfare Board still wants answers over firing of county commissioner’s wife

Pinellas Juvenile Welfare Board still wants answers over firing of county commissioner’s wife

CLEARWATER –– The Juvenile Welfare Board of Pinellas County demanded Thursday to know why the James B. Sanderlin Neighborhood Family Center fired the director of its reading program, Donna Welch, the wife of Pinellas County Commission chair Ken Welch...
Published: 10/12/18