Charleston area attracts new distribution center

For Immediate Release
July 1, 2000

CHARLESTON, SC – A leading manufacturer and importer of fitness equipment has moved into the area’s biggest speculative industrial building. ICON Health and Fitness, Inc. has converted a new, 200,000-square-foot structure into an East Coast importing and distribution center. ICON expects to employ 50 workers at the facility. Today’s announcement was facilitated by the Charleston Regional Development Alliance, whose role is to attract and retain competitive business investment in the region.

Ron Jones, ICON’s East Coast District Manager, noted that the Charleston region was the clear victor in the bid for the new operation for a number of reasons. “Charleston met all our requirements. The building was here, the Port of Charleston was here, and this was a place we could easily see our executives wanting to live.” The new facility became operational in June.

ICON’s customers include many of the nation’s leading retailers of sporting goods, and its product line includes the popular NordicTrack, HealthRider and Weider brands. The company operates 10 manufacturing facilities in three countries, and is headquartered in Utah. ICON holds 234 patents and licenses the Reebok brand name for home fitness equipment. Its 1999 sales totaled approximately $710 million worldwide.

William A. Moody, Jr., chairman of the Charleston Regional Development Alliance, welcomed the company, noting that its operations fit well within the region’s economic development planning. “Our new, five-year plan calls for a concentration on port-reliant businesses, as well as on high-tech companies. ICON represents the kind of clean, efficient port user that we want to attract and retain here. Welcome.”

Berkeley County Supervisor and County Council Chairman, Jim Rozier, noted that the new company complements an expanding network of distributors on the Cainhoy Peninsula. “We have seen a rural pocket of our community grow and prosper thanks to its proximity to the Port, to our strong highway system, and to our ready and willing workers. Welcome to Berkeley County, ICON – we’re sure you’ll be pleased with your decision to come here.”

Combined with facility costs, the ICON project represents a $5 million investment in the region. ICON has taken over a speculative building at the Charleston Regional Business Center, a commercial park off Clements Ferry Road. Located within the Charleston city limits, ICON’s new distribution center and the surrounding Charleston Regional Business Center were developed by the Beach Company. Gulfstream Construction built the ICON facility.

“Charleston is always pleased to welcome new business to our community,” said Mayor Joseph P. Riley Jr. “Charleston has a long history as a strong port city. With companies such as ICON believing in the economic strength of this city, we will continue to see a secure and profitable future. We welcome ICON and their employees to the area.”

The Alliance coordinates with numerous allies in the pursuit of its industrial development projects. The State Department of Commerce is a particularly strong partner in the effort.

“South Carolina’s growing economy continues to experience success as a result of announcements like ICON Health & Fitness,” said Secretary of Commerce Charles S. Way, Jr. “ICON will join the other 300 distribution facilities across the state providing an essential diversity to benefit South Carolina’s business community.”

The Charleston Regional Development Alliance represents Berkeley, Charleston and Dorchester counties. Its mission is to broaden and diversify business investment in this region, with a new emphasis on technology-intensive business sectors.

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