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Hazleton Is in the Zone
In May, AutoZone, one of North America’s top auto parts retailers, opened its 600,000-square-foot distribution center in the Greater Hazleton area of Pennsylvania. Construction of the facility began in June 2007, and AutoZone expects to employ 400 people when the plant in Humboldt North Industrial Park is fully operational.
AutoZone considered dozens of communities in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Maryland before deciding on Greater Hazleton as the site for its newest distribution center, according to John Warden, an executive vice president with The Walker Company, the site selector for the project.
“In addition to our workforce, several other factors helped us locate this project here. The Governor’s Action Team brought significant state financial incentives to the table. The Hazleton Area School District, Hazle Township and Luzerne County approved the land in Humboldt North for LERTA tax status. And the assistance provided by our industrial and educational community, the Manufacturers and Employers Association, CareerLink and the Chamber of Commerce was invaluable,” says Kevin O’Donnell, president of CAN DO, an economic development agency for Hazleton.
Joining CAN DO and local officials in making the announcement were AutoZone representatives including Bill Graves, senior vice president of supply chain customer satisfaction; Rod Halsell, vice president of distribution and customer satisfaction; Dave Ronk, regional distribution center manager; Joe Buehrle, distribution center manager; and Joe Lorson, direction of supply chain construction.
“The increasing scope of our business requires that we enhance our supply chain capabilities,” says Bill Graves, SVP of supply chain customer satisfaction. “AutoZone’s new facility in Hazle Township will bring even more efficiency to the process of delivering the right part at the right price to our retail and commercial customers.”
“Our staff spent countless hours, weeks and months coordinating all of the meetings and information this company sought during the site selection process. Before joining the CAN DO board, I had no idea how much hard work goes into courting a new industrial tenant. I think everyone who is involved in this process has an appreciation for the amount of work that goes into bringing new jobs to the area,” says CAN DO Chairman of the Board Thomas Sandrock.
Boston Taps Lehigh Valley Brewery
The Boston Beer Company, Inc., announced in August that it has signed a purchase and sale agreement with Diageo North America, Inc. to acquire a brewery located 60 miles outside of Philadelphia, for $55 million. The company expects to begin brewing Samuel Adams beer in the fourth quarter of this year.
“This agreement is a great opportunity to revitalize a classic brewery and restore its capability to brew our craft beers, which are increasingly in demand among beer drinkers nationwide,” says Martin Roper, president & CEO of The Boston Beer Company.
Boston Beer’s purchase of the brewery includes retaining approximately 194 jobs for the local community, many of which are held by long-term, experienced brewers.
The plant is located in Breinigsville, a town in Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley with an award-winning brewing history. Boston Beer also owns and operates successful breweries in Boston, MA and Cincinnati, OH.
Cintas Scintillated By Philly
With a boost from state investments, Governor Edward G. Rendell announced earlier this year that Cintas, a uniform supply company, will create at least 150 new jobs in Philadelphia.
“A multi-state company is creating a significant number of new jobs in an urban neighborhood…” says Gov. Rendell. “These things don’t happen by accident. They happen because the proactive investments we’ve made in our communities over the past five years are helping to create jobs and make a significant difference.
“It’s no accident that Pennsylvania is positioned to weather any national economic downturn that might be heading our way. And the budget I proposed earlier this month will help us protect our progress and do even more for communities throughout Pennsylvania.”
Cintas Corporation, the largest corporate uniform supplier in North America, built a 58,000-square-foot laundry processing facility on a more than 12-acre site it purchased at 4700 Jefferson Street. The new facility became operational in August. The Governor’s Action Team is assisting with a $75,000 opportunity grant for the $14.8-million project. Cintas also is retaining 1,564 existing positions. The Fortune 500 company currently operates three additional facilities in the greater Philadelphia area.
German Solar Power Producer Picks PA
State investments of $9 million helped Germany-based Flabeg choose Allegheny County for its first solar mirror production facility in the United States, creating 300 manufacturing jobs and strengthening Pennsylvania’s clean energy development.
Flabeg, a global leader in high-tech glass and mirror applications, will use the facility to manufacture parabolic solar mirrors, which are used to help generate electricity at large-scale solar power plants. It will be the company’s first U.S. facility of this type.
“This was a very competitive project and Flabeg’s decision to expand operations here shows that the international community continues to take notice of Pennsylvania’s business environment and pioneering clean energy efforts,” Gov. Rendell says. “With international leaders like Gamesa, Iberdrola, and Conergy already doing business in Pennsylvania, it’s clear that the commonwealth has established itself as a leader in the development of clean energy solutions.”
Pennsylvania’s Alternative Energy Portfolio Standard requires that, by 2021, at least 18% of all electricity sold at retail comes from clean, advanced energy resources. By 2021, Pennsylvania should benefit from over 850 megawatts of solar-produced electricity.