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Firm fails to hit jobs target, owes county $200K


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  • | 4:19 p.m. May 2, 2017
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  • Manatee-Sarasota
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SARASOTA — Enzymedica, an enzyme supplements firm that moved from Charlotte County to Sarasota County in 2012 after it received more than $200,000 in subsidies from Sarasota, failed to fulfill the majority of its jobs commitment.

Enzymedica, now based in Venice, received $216,000 in January 2012 from Sarasota County, according to a county memo. The funds, states the Sarasota County memo, were for “expenses related to relocation and renovation of its business.”

Founded in 1998, Enzymedica sells a variety of digestive enzyme products, and company officials, in a 2012 Business Observer story, say the firm had at least $10 million in sales in 2011. In return for the incentives, Enzymedica “represented that it would create and retain 72 new jobs to employ 72 additional full-time employees between October 26, 2011 and October 25, 2016,” say county officials.

But the company, instead, created and retained five jobs over five years, according to a report it submitted to county officials in January. Enzymedica CEO Scott Sensenbrenner didn't return several messages left with his assistant for comment on the jobs situation.

County officials, after tracking the jobs and failure to deliver, “notified Enzymedica that it owed the county $201,000 for the 67 jobs not created,” states the memo from Sarasota County Director of Business and Economic Development Jeff Maultsby.

The company asked Maultsby's office and the EDC of Sarasota County for an extension, the memo states, due to “a number of challenges the company has been facing.”

The company and county officials worked out a deal, where Enzymedica is now on the hook to pay back the county the full balance in monthly installments of $8,375 over 24 months.

The clawback agreement requires approval from the Sarasota County Commission; the panel, under different commissioners, approved the incentive package in 2012.

The county report deals only with the county half of the incentive package. Enterprise Florida, through the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity had also initially agreed to provide $216,000 in incentives to the company in 2012, matching Sarasota County. "Enzymedica was offered a financial incentive through the Qualified Target Industry program; however, the company failed to meet its job creation metrics in its first performance review," DEO spokeswoman Morgan McCord wrote in an email to the Business Observer today. "At that time, the incentive agreement was terminated without the company ever receiving any financial incentive."

Enzymedica's products include Digest and Digest Gold. The homeopathic products and pills, designed to improve digestion, are sold in independent drug and vitamin stores and national chains.

 

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