By the BF Staff
From the March/April 2018 Issue
With a low cost of doing business and a focused economic development strategy, Vineland, NJ is building a strong, diverse economy which includes the expansion of existing businesses, the arrival of new ones and the development of a new 285-acre industrial park. A collaborative spirit exists in which both the public and private sector are invested and passionate about moving development initiatives forward, which currently total more than $125 million in 2018.
Vineland is conveniently located along NJ Route 55, providing a quick and direct connection to the New Jersey Turnpike and I-295. These arteries link the city with major markets along the East Coast, including Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington D.C. and New York City. Vineland offers rail service to destinations across the U.S. and Canada, and is home to several trucking firms which carry market ready products in modern dry and refrigerated trailers. Additionally, freight air service and three deep water port facilities with Foreign Trade Zone status are just a short drive away.
Over the past 15 months, Mayor Anthony Fanucci has brought a distinctly pro-business approach to city government which comes from his background in the private sector. His progressive economic development policies are encouraging the entrepreneurial spirit and attracting new capital investment in industries like Food Processing, Cold Storage and Scientific Glass.
“Selecting the right location is a key component of any strategic business model,” Mayor Fanucci said. “Companies must look for the right blend of incentives, workforce, municipal infrastructure and business climate to be successful. The City of Vineland offers these advantages, and much more. Our economic development team provides a one-stop source for moving projects forward through the development and approval process.”
For example, the Florida based food company Pero Farms was looking to establish a new location in the Northeast and found what they were looking for in Vineland. Following approval of a New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) Grow NJ award totaling $19 million in tax credits over 10 years, the company plans to invest $13 million to construct a new 118,400-square-foot production facility which will employ over 200.
“We are excited at the prospect of building Pero’s presence in the Northeast and see Vineland as a strategic point for meeting the growing demand for our products,” said President and CEO Frank Pero.
Another new arrival to Vineland is F&S Produce, which recently purchased an existing 585,000-square-foot manufacturing plant with the help of $21.8 million in Grow NJ tax credits. According to President and CEO Sam Pipitone, Jr, “This new production facility will allow continued growth within the fresh cut produce space and enable us to also fill the starch or grain and protein portions of the plate, providing fresh, healthy and delicious complete meals to our customers.”
“Vineland offers many distinct logistical advantages, including access to New York and New Jersey ports, and the New Jersey and Pennsylvania Turnpikes,” NJEDA CEO Melissa Orsen said. “The area is emerging as a hub for companies of all sizes and industries that recognize the benefits of a South Jersey presence.”
In fact, Vineland’s proximity to port facilities has led to a surge in the city’s cold storage sector, which already includes over 30 million cubic feet of capacity. Existing companies which are expanding, including First Choice Freezer and Cold Storage, and new operations like Legacy Cold Storage, which is refurbishing a 50,000-square-foot facility and adding an additional 42,000 square feet of new space, are helping to fill growing customer demand for a variety of services including warehousing, packaging and national distribution to major retailers like Walmart, Costco and Sam’s Club.
“Exporters in countries around the world need to know their perishable products will be handled in a clean, secure facility with state-of-the-art temperature control, and that they will be repacked in the most attractive way,” said Vineland Economic Development Director Sandy Forosisky.
The city’s scientific glass industry also is making international news. Corning Glass recently announced a 26,000-square-foot expansion of their Vineland facility to support the production of their revolutionary new Valor Glass.
Smaller operations like Richland Glass, which designs and produces glass and quartz components and assemblies for electronics, lighting, medical and industrial clients, also is expanding. The company had considered a move to either Pennsylvania or Delaware but staying in Vineland ultimately made the most sense.
“There are different advantages to different areas and the city has been a good home for us,” Richland President Jack Carson said. “Glass working is a bit of an inherit skill in and around Vineland. That helps in terms of hiring talented people.”
Recognizing available space in the city’s two existing industrial parks was filling up fast, city officials formed a public-private partnership with the Cumberland County Improvement Authority and NEP Real Estate to develop a 285-acre tract of land adjacent to Route 55. The new industrial park is being anchored by Northeast Precast, a leader in custom precast products for the residential, commercial building, highway infrastructure and heavy marine construction markets.