Local manufacturing industry in job creation spotlight in April

April 21, 2016

Tampa and Hillsborough County’s diverse economy is often hailed as one of our great strengths, helping us to weather economic downturns and come back strong after a recession. One vital facet of our local economy, manufacturing, is equally diverse and thriving, as two local business expansions announced this month illustrate.

Granex, a leading manufacturer of granite and marble slab, opened its new headquarters in Tampa this month with a visit from Governor Rick Scott and Hillsborough County Commissioner Al Higginbotham, who has been a champion of the project since it was announced three years ago at the groundbreaking for the new facility. The expansion will create up to 50 new skilled manufacturing  jobs.

Granex’s facility is a first of its kind for the domestic engineering of granite and marble slabs and features state-of-the-art granite cutting and finishing machines. Granex imports raw materials from quarries all over the world before shipping the finished products domestically and internationally. The company’s close proximity to Port Tampa Bay is extremely important, as they import roughly 350 to 400 containers of materials and export approximately 40 containers worth of materials every year. They also rely on our interstate systems, sending out 300 truckloads every year.

On April 15, Governor Rick Scott visited Beneficial Blends, LLC to announce that the company would be expanding its operations in Hillsborough County. The premium organic-certified co-packer and manufacturer and distributor of Kelapo™ coconut oil products will add up to 70 new jobs and 24,000 square feet to the facility just north of Tampa International Airport.

“Our growth in the last eighteen months has been tremendous due to the exciting trends in natural and organic foods,” said Erin Meagher, founder of Beneficial Blends. “We’ve been able to accomplish this with talent right here in the Tampa Bay region, and we’re continually adding to our dynamic team.”

Beneficial Blends and Granex join a growing list of manufacturing companies who have expanded in Tampa and Hillsborough County in the past few years, including Tampa Tank and Florida Structural Steel, Fitlife Foods, Tampa Steel, Acoustiblok, and James Hardie.

Home to more than 18,600 manufacturing companies, Florida ranks among the nation’s top 10 states for the vital industry. The state’s 321,000+ manufacturing employees produce a wide variety of goods including aerospace products, batteries, food and beverages, communications equipment, pharmaceuticals, semiconductors, boats, and more.

“Entrepreneurs like Erin Meagher are building companies that will shape the future of Tampa and help attract more exciting companies like Beneficial Blends to our city,” said Mayor Bob Buckhorn, City of Tampa. “Tampa’s reputation as a great place to start and grow a business is increasing nationally and internationally, thanks to success stories like hers. We look forward to supporting them as they continue to expand.”