Northeast Florida Roundup
Teed up: Web.com drives a brand awareness campaign
As CEO of a technology company looking to grow, David Brown had a problem. Many people didn’t know Web.com existed.
“It’s here in Jacksonville. It’s not in San Francisco, Silicon Valley or New York City,” says Brown.
“I was beginning to think about how we could make a dent, a major impact, in terms of brand awareness,” he says. “Could we associate with a well-known and credible brand and get some lift from that?”
As it turned out, the answer was right in his back yard. Web.com, which develops and maintains websites for small and medium-sized businesses, partnered with the PGA Tour in Ponte Vedra Beach to become the naming rights partner for its secondary golf tour.
The Web.com Tour serves as a minor league for players aspiring to play on the PGA Tour. Brown says the younger players on that tour and the younger audience it brings were just what his company was looking for.
“This fits perfectly with the persona of Web.com,” he says.
The company will not disclose the financial particulars of the deal, but Brown says the cost was worth it as the Web.com Tour wraps up its fourth year under that name in October.
The number of customers has grown from 3.01 million in 2012 to 3.44 million through the first half of 2016. Company surveys showed Web.com’s name recognition rose from basically zero to 29% when it started the sponsorship.
“We’ve maintained that lift and actually built on it since then,” Brown says.
Innovation Music Contacts
Nicholas Rubright had no experience in technology when he created his music-streaming app, Dozmia. But with his background as a home-schooled student, he was able to learn the programming skills. “I’m kind of used to teaching myself,” he says. Dozmia aims to connect local musicians in the St. Augustine area with local businesses who may include them in playlists of music streaming in their cafes and shops. “There’s so much music out there. It just needs to get to the right people,” says Rubright.
ALACHUA COUNTY — Florida Power & Light is considering a 1,300- acre solar energy farm on a site straddling the border between eastern Alachua County and Putnam County. FPL is already planning to build solar energy centers this year in DeSoto, Charlotte and Manatee counties.
HAWTHORNE — The only bank branch in Hawthorne is closing. Ameris Bank acquired the branch when it bought Merchants and Southern Bank in 2015.
JACKSONVILLE — Amazon confirmed that it plans to build an 800,000-sq.-ft. fulfillment center near Jacksonville International Airport that will create 1,500 fulltime jobs. The city approved an $18.4-million incentive package three months earlier under the code name “Project Rex.” Amazon expects to open the center in time for the 2017 holiday season. After adding 500 jobs last year, Citigroup is bringing 800 more jobs to its credit card operations center, which already employs about 4,000. Spraga & Co., a restaurant owned by celebrity chef Kevin Spraga, closed after eight months. Mercedes-Benz USA is relocating an engineering services division from New Jersey to its Quality Evaluation Center in Jacksonville, adding 50 jobs. Mercedes-Benz already employs more than 100 people near Jacksonville International Airport. Parker- Vision signed a licensing agreement that allows Samsung to use its wireless technology, which ParkerVision says improves the performance of smart phones and other devices. This is the first agreement with a major manufacturer for Parker Vision, which has sued several companies including Samsung, for patent infringement. The Strand, a 28-story apartment building in the South bank neighborhood on the St. Johns River, sold for $64.6 million, one of the most expensive apartment building sales in Jacksonville. The Delorenzo Group of Winter Park bought the building from Miamibased Crescent Heights. Also in Southbank, Lingerfelt Common- Wealth Partners bought the 10-story Stein Mart building for $23.75 million. Previous owner Parkway Properties put its portfolio of Jacksonville office buildings up for sale before it merges with Cousins Properties. KLS Martin is opening its first U.S. manufacturing plant in Jacksonville, creating at least 25 jobs. The German surgical technology company’s plant will focus on 3-D printing and milling of products for reconstructive surgery. Firehouse Subs opened its 1,000th restaurant, in California. The chain, founded in 1994 in Jacksonville by brothers Chris and Robin Sorenson, now operates in 44 states, Puerto Rico and Canada.
LAKE CITY — HAECO Americas is creating 400 jobs at its aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul facility in Lake City. The Hong Kongbased company won’t disclose how many employees it already has in Lake City, but the Columbia County Chamber of Commerce lists HAECO as the county’s largest industrial employer with 630 workers.
PALM COAST — The Flagler County Chamber of Commerce is considering selling its headquarters building. The chamber says selling the building will free up cash flow, reduce debt and shore up its long-term financial position.
» John Bonfiglio was appointed president and COO of TapImmune, a Jacksonville company developing immunotherapies and vaccines to treat cancer. Bonfiglio has been a member of TapImmune’s board of directors since 2015.
» Gayle Mattson was appointed president of Haven Hospice.
» Tony Bernados, formerly vice president of revenue for the Savannah Morning News, was named publisher of the St. Augustine Record.
The Suwannee County Economic Development Office announces that St. Louis-based International Mulch Company (IMC) has opened a 162,000 -sq.-ft. manufacturing and distribution center in Suwannee County, representing 30 new jobs and more than $1 million in capital investment. The company recycles rubber products for landscaping and playground applications. SCEDO Director Dr. Alvin B. Jackson, Jr. Says, “As Florida’s New Frontier for welcoming businesses to Florida, our unique highway interchange system will be a major asset for IMC. Located halfway between Jacksonville and Tallahassee, Suwannee County has business development opportunities and a community with a quality of life that is unmatched.”
According to First American Financial’s Real House Price Index (RHPI), Jacksonville had the biggest year-over-year price increase for single-family homes among the 50 largest markets in May. The RHPI adjusts prices for the impact of income and interest rate changes.