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Incentives suffer from impatience

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  • | 5:41 a.m. April 8, 2011
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When it comes to government incentives, the lure du jour, some observers, including Coffee Talk, have often wondered: Wouldn't a lot of these companies still move or expand without the subsidy?

Local economic development officials would no doubt argue the funds are an essential recruiting tool to stay competitive. But the experience of Sarasota business owner Steve Schwartz — whose company recently received incentives — shows just how much wiggle room there is on the best use, and time, for incentives.

Schwartz's firm, Quality Enclosures, manufactures and fabricates glass shower doors. The 49-employee company is something of an anomaly in that it's departing the recession on a growth track, albeit a slow one. (See Business Review, April 30.)

In fact, Schwartz told the Business Review last spring the company was on the cusp of some new business opportunities. The timing was given a jolt late last year when Sarasota County approved $150,000 in incentives if the company hires 30 to 50 people over the next three years.

Schwartz, at a manufacturers event hosted by the Economic Development Corp. of Sarasota County, says he's increased his payroll from $1 million to $ 1.8 million over the last three months. Sales are up 50% in recent months, adds Schwartz, and he expects to hire at least 15 more people this year.

Enter the wiggle room.

Schwartz, who listed many reasons why Quality Enclosures is perfectly located in Sarasota, admits he was going to expand anyway. He might even have done it without incentives. “I would have done it in 2012 or 2013,” says Schwartz, “but because of the EDC, I was able to do it now.”



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