Company expected to have an economic impact of $2.2 million annually
By Chris Fish
BREVARD -- The Economic Development Commission of Florida's Space Coast announced on Thursday, April 4, that a North Carolina-based firearms manufacture is relocated to the Space Coast.
I.O. Inc., purchased a 51,000-square-foot building in Palm Bay, which officials said is estimated to create 53 jobs.
"With its competitive wages, broad financial impact and technological prerogative, manufacturing is a key segment of the Space Coast economy," said Lynda Weatherman, president and CEO of the EDC, in an email. "I.O. Inc., intends to embrace the core facets of manufacturing, with assembly and machining work, but also engineering and research elements. That blend ensures the company will add to our community's diverse economy in ways that are varied and long-lasting."
Officials said the jobs will average more than $43,000 annually and be created during the next year. The jobs include positions in assembly, machining and mechanical engineering.
At full employment, the company is expected to generate an economic impact of more than $2.2 million annually.
The company plans to invest nearly $2 million in capital expenditures, which includes nearly $700,000 in equipment, officials said.
Representatives from the EDC said the organization worked for more than a year with the firearms manufacturer by managing the site selection process and offering detailed wage and tax analyses, while also identifying property options.
President of I.O. Inc., Uli Wiegand said in a press release that the new operation will allow the company to implement its targeted sales increase initiative: taking annual sales from $10 million in 2012 to $16.8 million by 2014.
"With the specialized processes involved in our operations, we needed a site and community that allowed us to achieve our growth goals," he said. "The EDC made clear that the Space Coast offered both of those attributes: an excellent and flexible industrial property base and a workforce and technological climate that fit our needs perfectly."
I.O. Inc., plans to focus its Palm Bay operations on both manufacturing firearms and the engineering and design of future products. Officials said its goal is to have the majority of special components fabricated in-house, which requires the additional space the company has gained with its relocation.
"I.O. Inc., could have chosen any number of cities in the Southeast for its home, but it chose Palm Bay," said Palm Bay Mayor William Capote in a press release. "I.O. Inc., needed a community where it could grow and thrive, and we welcome the company to our Palm Bay business community."
Ms. Weatherman said the EDC currently has a few more projects in line for the Space Coast.
"While non-disclosure agreements preclude us from providing specifics, the EDC has a number of relocation and expansion projects in the pipeline in diverse industries, including aerospace and aviation, advanced communications, electronics and high-tech manufacturing," she said.