Fanatics, Inc. chooses Muskingum County

August 27, 2012 - Fanatics, Inc., a leading online retailer of officially licensed sports merchandise, gained approval for state and local incentives today for the location of a distribution center in Muskingum County, Ohio. 

Fanatics, based in Jacksonville, Florida, is in the final stages of a transaction for the purchase of a half-million-square-feet distribution center located on the site of The Longaberger Company's manufacturing and distribution campus between Dresden and Frazeysburg, Ohio. The sale is expected to be finalized in late September or early October.  The company expects to create 300 year-round jobs when fully operational and many seasonal jobs to accommodate holiday shopping.

The Ohio Tax Credit Authority approved a Job Creation Tax Credit today, and the Zanesville-Muskingum County Port Authority approved a maintenance fee agreement that will offset Fanatic's expenses for infrastructure and facility maintenance.  The incentives carry a combined estimated value of more than $900,000 over the term of the agreements.

"Due to substantial growth Fanatics has experienced in recent years, we are excited to expand our distribution services into Dresden, Ohio. The new fulfillment center will undoubtedly strengthen the Columbus and Dresden communities by creating more jobs and tax income for the state of Ohio," stated Brent Trager, COO of Fanatics. "We plan on adding 240 full-time employees at the facility beginning 1Q 2013 and increasing that number to 300 by 2016. Also occurring next year, Fanatics will hire 640,000 work hours of temporary help to accommodate our busy holiday season. The location and additional space will allow our company to even better serve customers in the Northeast and Midwest by delivering orders even faster than ever before."

The announcement provides a win-win-win scenario for Fanatics, Longaberger Company and the community.

"We're delighted that Fanatics has chosen to locate their distribution center here. We're thrilled to have them as our neighbor. I know they will find this a perfect place to do business," said Tami Longaberger, President and CEO of The Longaberger Company.

"Last month I announced my decision to transition our entire Longaberger line to American-made merchandise. Through this transaction with Fanatics, we're expanding our job-creation effort even further. We have prime space available on our campus for companies to come here and bring jobs to our area, as Fanatics is doing. We welcome them with open arms."

The location being purchased by Fanatics is Building F, which consists of 514,458 square feet on 68 acres. Longaberger's Dresden property consists of nine buildings. The total square footage of all current buildings on the Longaberger campus is 1.74 million square feet.    

 "Fanatics is a tremendously dynamic, fast-growing company, and we are honored to have them locate in Muskingum County," said Zanesville-Muskingum County Port Authority Executive Director Mike Jacoby.  "We are just as pleased to see Longaberger, which remains a critical employer in the community, benefit from the project." 

When Fanatics takes possession of Building F, Longaberger will shift its own distribution operations to Building B. All 61current Longaberger distribution employees will make the move and Longaberger will hire additional employees as the company transitions to hand-pack all of its orders. "Our baskets are crafted by hand, so we believe they also should be packed by hand," said Ms. Longaberger, who noted that switching to hand-packing orders will reduce wasted packing materials and ensure personalized operations.

Longaberger also occupies Building A (206,000 square feet) for manufacturing operations and Building E (120,000 square feet) for woodcraft operations, in addition to Building B (813,000 square feet).

The site is adjacent to the Longaberger Homestead, a 40-acre retail, restaurant and entertainment complex owned and operated by The Longaberger Company. The Homestead is a popular destination for visitors, including members of Longaberger's independent sales force and their customers. 

Muskingum County is located in central eastern Ohio and is a logistical sweet-spot for serving a maximum amount of the North American businesses and population.  Dollar General, Autozone, AVON Products, and NFI have distribution centers located here.  Labor costs are 80% of the U.S. average.  Ohio has the third lowest tax burden on new capital investment by businesses.