Tampa Welcomes Two New Headquarter Operations in May

May 22, 2015

It’s been an exciting month for new headquarter announcements and business expansions in Hillsborough County.
Ashley Home Furniture
Ashley Furniture Industries, Inc., the world’s largest furniture manufacturer, announced the establishment of its U.S. e-commerce headquarters in Ybor City. The new headquarters will occupy over 70,000 square feet of space in Centro Ybor in the heart of the historic district and house more than 100 employees by year end.
“We found everything we were looking for here: a rich supply of local e-commerce professionals, the perfect building to house our e-commerce headquarters as well as other retail operations, and the opportunity to contribute to the revitalization of Ybor City,” said Ashley’s CEO, Todd Wanek.
Ashley’s new e-commerce headquarters is expected to spur growth and renewal in the historic district and become a hub for thousands of annual visitors, including employees, retailers, vendors and customers from all over the world. The location, Wanek said during a press conference held May 21, is ideal for attracting the top design and technology talent his company needs to serve its growing online retail business.
On May 18, Governor Rick Scott and Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners Chair Sandy Murman welcomed the arrival of Inspirata’s global headquarters to Tampa. Inspirata, a provider of innovative solutions that streamline and automate the pathology workflow to expedite cancer diagnoses, is expected to generate up to 70 new jobs with an average salary of $86,000.
Inspirata’s founding was the result of an encounter in May 2013 at the MediFuture 2023 Conference, an event produced by the Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corporation to help position Tampa as the epicenter of disruptive innovation in the healthcare industry. Serial entrepreneur Satish Sanan was at the conference and heard a presentation by Mark Lloyd, the scientist in charge of Moffitt Cancer Center’s Analytic Microscopy Core Laboratory. Sanan was intrigued by Lloyd’s work in the area of digital pathology and computational image analytics. Soon after their initial meeting, Sanan and Lloyd partnered to commercialize a range of cancer diagnostics solutions.
“While we initially investigated other locations, Tampa really was our top choice when considering a location for Inspirata’s corporate headquarters, especially given the fact that the State of Florida and Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corporation were so supportive in helping us locate here,” said Inspirata Chairman and CEO Satish Sanan. “From a pure economic standpoint, Hillsborough County and the City of Tampa are great places to launch a company because they’re so business friendly. Then, of course, there are all of the added benefits like being less than 15 minutes from one of the country’s best international airports, and having access to high-quality graduates from the outstanding universities and colleges in the area. Finally, but not the least of our considerations, was the fact that the core group of employees joining Inspirata have all lived in the greater Tampa Bay area for many years. Since this is our home, we have a vested interest in seeing the area prosper economically.”
There was plenty of good news on the business expansion front this month as well.
Amazon announced plans to add at least 200 new jobs to its 1.1 million square foot fulfillment center in Ruskin. Amazon spokeswoman Nina Lindsey told the Tampa Bay Times that the Seattle-based company plans to double the operational capacity of its massive Ruskin warehouse.
“This was always the plan,” said Lindsey. “But now the timing is right.”
Fitlife Foods
Plant City, which has elevated its business recruitment activity to a whole new level with its successful Plant City Right. Now. economic development forum on May 6, got some great news the following week that FitLife Foods was moving into Plant City.
Fitlife Foods, the leading Southeastern independent retailer of healthy, fresh-prepared meals, announced that it will expand its Culinary Center operations as part of a brand new 100,000 square foot facility in Central Florida Development’s County Line Commerce Center in Plant City. The expansion is expected to generate over 100+ jobs and several million dollars in capital investment in eastern Hillsborough County over the next two years.
“Plant City offers us the perfect combination of a central location and a quality workforce to fuel Fitlife Foods’ next stage of growth,” said David Osterweil, founder and chief executive officer of Fitlife Foods. “We’re excited to build our state-of-the-art Culinary Center in the County Line Commerce Center, and to have our culinary and operations teams working together under one roof. We’ll have plenty of room to grow and look forward to hiring the local talent we’ll need to support us as we expand.”
The Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corporation and CareerSource Tampa Bay will assist Fitlife Foods with workforce recruiting, screening, and on-the-job training services as well as sales tax exemptions on machinery and equipment for manufacturing companies.
As these diverse projects demonstrate, Tampa and Hillsborough County is experiencing healthy growth in sectors ranging from information technology and life sciences to logistics and distribution.