A North Carolina-based firearms manufacturer, I.O. Inc., is investing nearly $2 million to relocate to the Florida Space Coast with the purchase of a 51,000-square-foot building in Palm Bay that will spur the creation of 53 jobs.
The EDC of the Florida Space Coast said it worked with I.O. Inc. for more than a year, managing the site selection process and offering detailed wage and tax analyses, while identifying property options that led to the decision to relocate to Palm Bay.
The new operation will allow I.O. Inc. to implement its targeted sales increase initiative, taking annual sales from $10 million in 2012 to $16.8 million by 2014, according to President Uli Wiegand.
“With the specialized processes involved in our operations, we needed a site and a community that allowed us to achieve our growth goals,” Wiegand 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.”
The company’s current focus on manufacturing and product design development is a good fit for the Space Coast, Wiegand said. “We appreciate the spirit of innovation that underlies much of the economy here,” he said. “We look forward to bringing our own creativity and contributions to this vibrant, exciting business climate.
Jobs at the firm will average over $43,000 annually and be created over the next year, with positions in assembly, machining and mechanical engineering. At full employment, I.O.’s annual economic impact will be more than $2.2 million, Space Coast officials said.
“We have long focused on enhancing our high-tech manufacturing economy, and I.O. Inc. is a welcome addition to this sector,” said Lynda Weatherman, president and CEO of the Economic Development Commission of Florida’s Space Coast.
I.O. Inc. will focus its Palm Bay operations on both manufacturing firearms and the engineering and design of future products. Its goal is to eventually have the majority of special components fabricated in-house, which requires the additional space the company has gained with its relocation to Palm Bay.
“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. “I.O. Inc. needed a community where it could grow and thrive, and we welcome the company to our Palm Bay business community.”