BROOKSVILLE — When Richard Smith decided to move his company from South Florida to Central Florida earlier this year, he starting hunting in Hillsborough and Pasco counties.
Then he got snagged by the Hernando County economic development team.
Last year, he already had purchased a home and some acreage in Hernando, where he says he has numerous relatives. Finding a new business site near his home simply meant he could be close to his work. This week, Smith told county commissioners he loves his new arrangement.
"I came to Brooksville because I wanted to live in Brooksville,'' he said. "I enjoy small-town living.''
Receiving cash incentives for making that choice mattered, too, Smith said.
Smith spoke before commissioners along with two other companies that were seeking approval for job creation incentives. About 70 new jobs are coming, and all of them are offering average annual wages of about $35,000.
Valerie Pianta, the county's economic development supervisor, introduced Smith, president of Tradesmith LLC, to the commission. His company, which develops Web-based services, offers software for financial portfolio tracking and creates financial newsletters, recently purchased and is renovating a 42,000-square-foot building at 290 E Fort Dade Ave. in downtown Brooksville. Tradesmith is expected to create 15 new jobs and could earn as much as $45,000 in incentives over the next five years if it follows through with that plan, Pianta said.
Barrette Outdoor Living, the company that recently acquired Alumi-Guard Inc., was also approved for job-creation incentives. The company currently has 131 full-time workers and is planning to hire 40 more over the next year. Barrette occupies a 210,000-square-foot manufacturing facility at Brooksville-Tampa Bay Regional Airport.
The acquisition has meant an expansion of the product line at the Hernando facility. Barrette manufactures wood, vinyl and aluminum fencing; railing material; outdoor storage buildings, and plastic lattice, among numerous other products.
The total cost for the incentives for Barrette is $120,000 over five years.
Commissioners also approved incentives for Premier Pharmacy Labs LLC, a pharmaceutical research and compounding laboratory that has been located in Weeki Wachee since 1999. The company's 7,000-square-foot facility includes a pharmaceutical clean room, labs and offices. Recently recognized by the Food and Drug Administration, the company is adding a second shift to increase efficiency and plans to invest $500,000 in manufacturing equipment in the next year, Pianta told commissioners.
Currently, there are 12 employees; the plan is to add 18 more over the next three years. The maximum cost of the incentives would be $54,000.
All of the job-creation incentives — funded with local tax dollars — are performance based and paid only upon documentation of jobs and wages.
Contact Barbara Behrendt at [email protected] or (352) 848-1434.