Why Bluegrass Supply chose to expand in Jeffersonville despite losing original location

JEFFERSONVILLE — When Bluegrass Supply Chain Services’ was awarded a contract with Ford Motor Co., it was clear that they needed a new facility. The Bowling Green, Kentucky-based business chose to bring their 50 new jobs to Jeffersonville.

Then, when the company recently learned that its required launch date had moved up and it no longer had time to construct a brand new building within the city’s Bridgeport Business Center, the business, once again, chose Jeffersonville.

Why?

Robert Teixera, Bluegrass Supply’s vice president of project development, said that the company had better luck finding workers at its Jeffersonville facility than it had in Bullitt County, Ky., where Bluegrass Supply has another location. The company currently employs 14 people at a location along Patrol Road in River Ridge Commerce Center.

Plus, the business park, where Bluegrass Supply is also opening its new building, has direct access to highways, which is particularly important to a third-party logistics company, Teixera said.

In December, Bluegrass Supply will launch operations at its new, 252,515-square foot building, leased from America Place, at 350 Salem Road— another River Ridge facility. That’s 10 months before the project was originally supposed to start.

Bluegrass Supply’s contract with Ford is to pack and ship electronic components to the automotive company’s factories. Workers at the new facility will perform warehousing and sequencing services.

In the beginning, Bluegrass Supply will employ 10 more people in Jeffersonville, but by April, the company plans to have hired 50, which is 20 less than the company said in February that it originally intended to employ. The jobs are expected to pay an average of $19.70 an hour.

Bluegrass Supply’s operations carry with them a chance for expansion within Jeffersonville in the future, or at least the goal of one, said Teixera.

As much as the company likes Jeffersonville, the city seems to be just as appreciative of Bluegrass Supply.

Mayor Mike Moore said he is proud that the company has chosen to stay within his city, especially when Jeffersonville is in competition with other locations across the region and the world.

“I think it speaks a lot about everything we’ve done, a lot of the fine improvements we’ve made, a lot of the quality of life issues we’ve responded to,” he said.

River Ridge Commerce Center, especially, has seen a lot of action recently. Niagara, a bottling company, announced in July that it would be investing $56 million into a new facility within the business and industrial park, and earlier this week, the commerce center announced that it had started negotiations regarding three land deals that, if finalized, would take out 65 acres of the 6,000-acre commerce center.

Moore is especially happy that Bluegrass Supply will pay above market wages. He no longer wants Jeffersonville to pursue companies paying $10 to $12 an hour.

The city originally approved tax abatements for Bluegrass Supply, but those are not applicable now that the company is no longer building at Bridgeport. The River Ridge Commerce Center offers its own incentives to businesses.

It’s not clear yet if the state will supply its own incentives to Bluegrass Supply. Abby Gras, a spokesperson for the Indiana Economic Development Corporation said, that if the state is negotiating with the company, it won’t be known until the project is further along.

Taylor King, the director of leasing and marketing for America Place, is just as happy as Moore about Bluegrass Supply’s chosen location.

America Place’s Salem Road facility has been ready for a tenant since December of 2015.

“We’re obviously very excited,” said King about finally leasing the building, which is being done on a seven-year contract. “We think that Bluegrass is a fantastic fit for us.”

Bluegrass Supply had four possible relocation options after its Bridgeport plans fell through, said Teixera, but the company chose America Place for its location and its cost. The new building is mostly warehouse space with under 5,000-square feet for offices, according to King. There is no room for expansion at the facility so any physical growth needed by Bluegrass Supply would have to occur at a different site.

In a statement, America Place CEO Jim Karp, called Bluegrass Supply an “excellent company” that has seen “steady and sustainable growth.” The company opened in 2002.

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