By Joe Crews
For Hometown News
Duraline Products is setting up shop in the DeLand Business and Industrial Park and will create more than 40 new jobs, its owner and chief executive said.
Duraline manufactures safety rubber-molded electrical connectors and temporary lighting for customers worldwide, including the U.S. military and industrial utility companies. It currently is in Islandia, a town on Long Island, N.Y.
Some sales and administrative personnel may move down from New York, but most of the manufacturing jobs will be what CEO John Sclafani called "unskilled workers."
"Only a couple of workers will need the CNC (computer numerical control) certification; about 35 will be unskilled factory workers," he said. "It's not a hard job, but it's good, steady work for people."
Mr. Sclafani said he's putting about $800,000 worth of renovations and landscaping into a building that formerly housed Macon Electric Coil Inc. That's on top of the $625,000 he paid for the property last month.
The property at 1731 Patterson Ave. has a 12,000-square-foot building sitting on 1.5 acres. A smaller 4,000-square-foot building was torn down since Mr. Sclafani bought the site, and he plans to build a 6,000-square-foot building in its place.
"The first part (of the move) will be the offices for sales, purchasing and accounting, probably during November," he said by telephone from New York. "The next move will be when the new building is done."
Much of the interior build-out and landscaping has been completed, and the new building's foundation should be finished by the first week of October, he said. The addition should be completed early next year.
Although Mr. Sclafani has enrolled in the state's Qualified Targeted Industry Program, better known by the acronym QTIP, he's not sure he intends to pay enough to qualify for the tax rebates.
"I don't see it as a good fit for small manufacturers with unskilled workers," he said. "I don't know what we'll get out of it."
Rob Ehrhardt, manager of Volusia County's Department of Economic Development, said it's "not typical" for a company to enroll in the QTIP program and then not take advantage of it. "Every company has to decide whether the program is good for it or not," Mr. Ehrhardt said.
Under the program, companies agree to have their companywide average salary exceed by at least 15 percent the state-set average salary for the county. For 2012, the state determined Volusia's average salary is $32,274, which would mean Duraline's average pay would have to exceed $37,115.
But Mr. Ehrhardt said, for many companies from outside the area, Volusia offers informal incentives: lower salaries and real estate costs than in places like New York.
"Those are good incentives that can lower a company's operating costs and improve the bottom line," Mr. Ehrhardt said. He speculated that those factors might have played a role in Mr. Sclafani's decision to move to DeLand.
Bob Turk, DeLand's economic development manager, said the city commission last month approved a 10-year property tax rebate for Duraline. The deal will waive up to $7,000 in property taxes each year over the next decade if the company meets the employment requirements, he said.
"(Mr. Sclafani) has to create 44 jobs with an average salary of $37,000 to get the full rebate," Mr. Turk said. "He's got to create 44 jobs averaging $32,000 to get a 50 percent rebate."
Still, he said it's great to have that many new jobs coming to the area.
"They're good manufacturing jobs," he said. "We're real excited they're coming to DeLand."
Mr. Ehrhardt said Duraline landed in DeLand because of the efforts of longtime Realtor Bill Mancinik. "He deserves much of the credit," he said.
When Mr. Sclafani was looking for a place to relocate, he talked with Mr. Mancinik, who referred him to Team Volusia Economic Development Co. and the CEO Business Alliance. Team Volusia then coordinated the resources available as it related to the business, Mr. Ehrhardt said.