Industrial baking equipment firm coming to Brooksville

BROOKSVILLE — A Massachusetts company that refurbishes and manufactures industrial baking equipment has announced plans to expand at the Brooksville-Tampa Bay Regional Airport and Technology Center.

Baker Parts president Todd Watson signed lease papers Friday and is hoping to begin to bring his expanded operations to Hernando County in early April.

On Tuesday, the Hernando County Commission will consider job creation incentives totaling $90,000 over the next five years if the company demonstrates it has met its hiring targets.

The company will lease a 24,000-square-foot facility at 16020 Aviation Loop Drive, the site of the old Gator Door and Supply Co. It plans to bring 30 jobs there over the next three years and offer an annual average wage of $34,911.

The company is eligible for the local Job Creation Incentives Program. Incentives proposed are $3,000 per job, as provided in the Hernando County Incentive Ordinance. All incentives are paid annually, upon documentation of the new jobs and wages.

The current Baker Parts facility in Westport, Mass., south of Boston, has run out of space. There are 10 workers there, and Watson said he hopes to keep them in place while developing a new crew in Florida over the next year or so.

He settled on the Hernando location after looking in several other areas of Florida. Labor costs in Hernando County were more reasonable, he said, and the building he will lease was perfect. It is set up in two sections so the refurbishing work can be done in one portion, and the rest can be used to warehouse equipment he buys and sells.

As the company begins to expand manufacturing, he wants that to happen in Florida.

Watson first discovered the area because he has friends who work for him who live in Spring Hill. He also has a big job coming up from the Bahamas, and he does work with customers in Central and South America as well as Mexico, so he hopes the airport location will make travel easier than it is to New England.

"Everybody is really excited,'' Watson said. "I think it's going to be great, and I'm very optimistic for our growth.''

County Administrator Len Sossamon, who also serves as Hernando's economic development director, said Baker Parts "is an excellent fit for our community offering valuable jobs to our residents."

"Their investment in the existing facility will be a positive for the technology center," Sossamon said. "We are pleased they chose to grow here in Hernando County."

According to the company's website, Baker Parts manufactures and works on a variety of industrial and commercial bakery equipment, ranging from dough systems to packaging systems.

Founded in 1980, Watson bought the company from his father, but sees it less as a family operation than an operation designed to raise up all of its employees.

"If we're successful,'' he said, "everyone is successful.''

Barbara Behrendt can be reached at behrendt@tampabay.com or (352) 848-1434.

Industrial baking equipment firm coming to Brooksville 03/21/14 [Last modified: Friday, March 21, 2014 7:28pm]

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