4A — January 30 - February 12, 2015 — Economic Development — M id A tlantic
Real Estate Journal
E conomic D evelopment By Jon Scott, Greater Reading Economic Partnership Manufacturing rebound benefits Greater Reading, Pennsylvania
he rebound in U.S. manufacturing is being experienced firsthand
in 2013 and reflect economic trends: 75 percent were from manufacturing and distribu- tion-related businesses. This interest in our area is understandable: • As the one-time site of the world’s largest textile plant, as well as other industries, Read- ing maintains its reputation as a global manufacturing center. It is still home to a number of international companies representing specialty metals, medical devices, food products and other industries. At the same time it is seeing growth in the business and financial services sector.
• The workforce is produc- tion-oriented. Of 13 cities in New Jersey and Pennsylvania analyzed by the Philadelphia Federal Reserve in 2014, Read- ing has maintained the highest percent – 20 percent – of jobs in manufacturing versus 12 percent for the other cities. In addition, Reading’s growing population is getting younger, which presents workforce de- velopment opportunities that will benefit relocating and ex- isting local companies. • The county is well situated for business success, with close proximity and easy access to major traffic arteries and mar-
kets in the mid-Atlantic and Northeast. • With its beautiful rolling hills, the area provides an at- tractive lifestyle close to, but outside of, large metro markets such as Baltimore, Washington D.C. and New York City. The location means a lower cost to live and do business, while pro- viding access to cultural, sports and educational opportunities available here and in nearby Philadelphia, Lancaster and Allentown. • The business community is proactive, agile and intercon- nected. The number of bank- ing, engineering, and economic
development organizations provide a highly supportive environment for companies to establish and grow their opera- tions. Moving to Greater Reading One example is Seibu Gik- en’s North American Opera- tions, SG America. In 2013, the Minnesota-based air handling systems company was looking at alternate U.S. sites to give them access to a larger labor pool and lower cost of business. With the support of the Greater Reading community and busi- ness leaders, they relocated and are now operating in a 25,000 s/f location. The area is also responding to the pent-up demand for East Coast distribution centers. Two national retailers looking to establish such centers recently set up operations at a 323-acre complex in the northern part of the County. PetSmart and Dollar General opened their facilities in 2014 and from the site, Pet Smart alone is looking to supply 25 percent of its retail stores nationwide. The complex, called Berks Park 78, is close to Interstate 78, a key interstate stretching from west of Berks County to New York City. With its rural location and close proximity to densely populated East Coast areas, this and other planned distribution parks will benefit from the distribution center trend. Local Expansion Manufacturing companies already based in Greater Read- ing are taking part in the rebound. Several years ago, the parent of Cambridge-Lee Industries LLC, a local maker and distributor of copper tube and other metal products, was interested in transferring a new manufacturing facility planned for Mexico to Cambridge-Lee’s Reading site. Given the oppor- tunity to retain and add jobs, the county, economic develop- ment organizations and local contractors worked to expedite the project, allowing it to open on schedule. Other businesses moving to or growing in Greater Reading include: • Cambridge-Lee Industries • Carpenter Technology • East Penn Manufacturing • RM Palmer • SunRich Fresh Foods • Sweet Street Desserts • TAB Industries Developing a SkilledWorkforce continued on page 6A
in our region, a long-time and resilient h o m e f o r manufactur- ing and in- dustry. As the pri- mary market- er for Greater
Reading, PA, located in south- eastern Pennsylvania, we’ve seen inquiries from companies and site selection groups grow- ing steadily over the past four years. They reached new highs
How Cambridge-Lee went to market faster in Greater Reading.
When copper tube manufacturer Cambridge-Lee Industries decided to expand operations, they chose to build a new plant in Greater Reading. More than just an affordable, strategic location in southeastern Pennsylvania, Greater Reading gave them access to a skilled workforce, a choice of excellent properties, and a well-connected business community that streamlined the approval process—so they could break ground months ahead of schedule. Discover greater possibilities. Visit GreaterReading.com.
GreaterReading.com • (610) 376.4237 Be something greater.
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