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Garden State Tanning officially opens corporate headquarters

March 06, 2002|BY SCOTT BUTKI

Local, state and federal officials on Tuesday celebrated the opening of Garden State Tanning's corporate headquarters, which moved from King of Prussia, Pa., to Washington County.

Garden State started using the 17,500-square-foot headquarters in the OSI Building on Crayton Boulevard off Maugans Avenue north of Hagerstown about 60 days ago, said Joseph E. Cooley Jr., vice president of sales and marketing for the company.

Garden State Tanning is a manufacturer of automotive leather upholstery with two manufacturing and processing facilities in Williamsport.

The company has a total of about 2,300 employees, Cooley said.

At a ceremony Tuesday, U.S. Rep. Roscoe Bartlett, R-Md., and others praised the company for moving its headquarters to be closer to its Williamsport plants.

For Garden State to decide to move to Maryland shows an endorsement of Maryland's business climate, said David Iannucci, secretary of the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development.

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About 25 new jobs were created by the move, of which about 10 have been filled, Cooley said.

About 50 people will work at the new building, he said.

With 1,500 employees locally, Garden State is the largest manufacturing company in Washington County, said Tim Troxell, assistant director of the Hagerstown-Washington County Economic Development Commission.

The second biggest manufacturing employer in the county is Mack Trucks Inc., which has 1,119 employees, according to a Mack Trucks spokesman.

At its Feb. 26 meeting, the Washington County Board of Commissioners approved a resolution endorsing a $250,000 state loan to Garden State Tanning to reimburse the company for moving its corporate headquarters.

The county also provided its own loan of $25,000, with the total of $275,000 intended to pay for relocation costs, equipment acquisition, furniture and other expenses.

The county and state loans will become grants, which do not have to be paid back, if certain conditions are met, including retaining at least 25 permanent jobs at the headquarters and for the company headquarters to remain in Washington County until at least 2006.

The commissioners were among those in attendance at Tuesday's ceremony.

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