July 24, 2014

Northeast: Opportunity Epicenter

Pro-business attitudes and easy lifestyle prompt decisions to relocate and grow.

Science First classroom
Science First, which supplies much of the equipment budding young scientists use in classrooms across the U.S., chose Nassau County as its new headquarters site.
Family-owned Science First, a manufacturer of educational products used to teach the natural sciences in schools, had operated out of Buffalo, New York, since 1960, but when high taxes sent the company scouting for new locations, Nassau County, Florida, came out the winner.

“We really, really, really liked the Nassau area,” says Aaron Bell, the company’s vice president and grandson of its founder.

Science First offers everything from the centrifugal hoops used to teach physics and 3-D constellation kits for astronomy lessons to microscopes for school biology labs; all are developed and tested by Science First staff. In addition, Bell notes, the company is also the “best supplier” of environmental studies, an academic area that is gaining popularity nationwide.

Northeast Florida
Demographics for the Northeast Region can be found at Business Florida's interactive map of Florida.
Regional Assets

Universities/Colleges
• Edward Waters College
• Flagler College
• Florida State College at Jacksonville
• Jacksonville University
• St. Johns River Community College
• University of North Florida

Airports
• Jacksonville International Airport
• St. Augustine-St. Johns County Airport

Seaports
• Port of Fernandina
• Port of Jacksonville

After making the initial decision to move his company, Bell looked first at states with low tax burdens such as Florida, Texas and Nevada. A visit to Florida clinched the deal. “This is a good, business-friendly climate,” he says. “There are good incentives for moving down to Florida and bringing your jobs with you.”

Says Bell, “Nassau County was wonderful to work with. They allowed me to get done what I needed to get done, such as permitting for the building, in three months.”

Available land, a good school system and proximity to Jacksonville International Airport and JAXPORT, which has a large container business that suits Bell’s needs, also played into his decision to locate here.

Nassau County, Bell says, even had a program in place to help his employees with down payments on housing. “They have been very accommodating of our employees as well as to us, and we really appreciate that.”

Science First’s new space at the Tradeplex in Yulee will encompass 25,000 square feet with the option of expanding to 55,000 square feet if necessary. That additional space will be needed if the planned purchase of another business — expected to be finalized in 2010 — moves ahead as scheduled. If that acquisition is successful, Bell plans to hire about 20 additional employees, bringing the total staff at Science First in Nassau County to 50.

Tags: Northeast, Business Florida

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