COVINGTON, Ky. – Northern Kentucky companies had a killer 2015. From Amazon to Braxton Brewing, primary industry leaders created 2,435 direct jobs and allotted $459.9 million in new capital investment – the fourth highest year total in the Northern Kentucky Tri-County Economic Development Corporation's 28-year history and a 105-percent increase over 2014.
In all, 27 companies in Tri-ED's fold either launched, expanded or located in Boone, Kenton or Campbell counties. Because Tri-ED deals only with primary industry, or companies that export products or services outside the region, that's only a small fraction of the final results.
The 2,435 new jobs created in NKY in 2015, for example, translate to 2,000 more indirect/induced jobs in the community – and a total economic output totaling $547 million. That’s a bigger economic impact, Tri-ED President/CEO Dan Tobergte said, than a Major League Baseball All-Star Game, the Kentucky Derby or even a Super Bowl, which typically has a $500 million impact after it's run its course.
"We can't have a Super Bowl in Northern Kentucky, (but) we can have an equal amount year-after-year impact coming from businesses represented here," Tobertge said. "Primary industry impact is so very important…because it helps drive everything else."
On Wednesday, 22 companies were specifically highlighted by Tri-ED during its annual recognition event, the Northern Kentucky Thoroughbreds luncheon. And while you've certainly heard about Wayfair, DHL and projects like Robert Bosch Automotive's $84.5 million expansion in Florence, here's six other companies that are growing like gangbusters.
Online printing company GotPrint is a hot seller of T-shirts, business cards, posters, signage and notepads. And in 2015, GotPrint announced a $6.1 million plan to expand its facility at Arbor Tech Drive in Hebron by 32,000 square feet, which will be complemented by the purchase of a new printing press.
GotPrint, a subsidiary of California-based Printograph Inc., opened its Kentucky location in 2008 – attracted by the region's strong history in the printing industry and proximity to the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport – and has grown from 20 employees and 80,000 square feet to more than 100 employees in 115,000 square feet. The Hebron facility produces 40 percent of the company’s revenue. The latest move should result in the hire of 15 new workers and allow GotPrint to increase its production capacity by one-third.
LOGOMAT Automation Systems Inc.
LOGOMAT, which develops, manufactures and services high-precision conveyor systems for assembly and test applications, expanded its Hebron facility in 2015, investing $1.02 million and creating 12 new jobs.
LOGOMAT grew its 22,300-square-foot facility at the Northern Kentucky Riverview Business Park by 11,600 square feet. The expansion will allow LOGOMAT to increase its production while improving lean-process operations and storage. LOGOMAT prepares more than 90 percent of all required product parts in the Hebron facility.
The company has said it plans to hold an open house at its facility in early 2016.
FedEx Ground, a small-package carrier, continues to grow its Boone County hub, expanding its building size by more than 35,000 square feet to roughly 311,000. This latest increase will allow FedEx Ground to increase capacity to a total processing rate of 30,000 packages per hour by the end of 2016 – nearing the facility's initial 45,000-package-per-hour capacity.
FedEx Ground recently announced plans for a $150 million investment in Northern Kentucky that will support the creation of 60-plus new full-time jobs. Over the past five years, the company has invested $3 billion to expand its network.
Wayfair wasn’t the only e-commerce retailer making waves in 2015. Monoprice, which specializes in consumer electronics and accessories, opened a new 103,000-square-foot warehouse in Hebron, a facility that will serve as a major distribution center for its consumers in the Midwest, Northeast and Southeast.
The move also means Monoprice will be moving more than 20 jobs to Boone County, officials have said.
The warehouse will be home to more than 1,400 of the most in-demand products sold on Monoprice.com. The company offers high-quality consumer electronics and tech accessories.
Boone County Distilling Co.
It's been more than 100 years since bourbon was made in Boone County. But in 2015, Boone County Distilling Co. changed that.
The new distillery stands at 5,000 square feet, in an industrial park located roughly a mile off I-75 on Toebben Drive. It includes a 500-gallon pot still, four fermenters and a small bottling line with a capacity for 250 barrels a year. Barrels will be stored in a 3,000-square-foot steel building behind the distillery.
The distillery's first concoction, Eighteen 33, is a 90.8 proof 10-year-old bourbon. Products like gin or moonshine could follow.
The company plans to hop on board the Kentucky Craft Bourbon Trail this summer, joining the likes of New Riff Distillery in Newport, Corsaid Artisan Distillery in Bowling Green and Barrel House Distilling Co. in Lexington.
VonLehman & Company, a regional CPA, business advisory and business turnaround firm with offices in Northern Kentucky, Cincinnati and Indianapolis, has outgrown its Fort Mitchell office space. So the company broke ground in November on a new $10.7 million state-of-the-art leased headquarters at Wright's Summit in Fort Wright.
Its 57,000-square-foot Class A office building is scheduled to open in December – a big boon for Tri-ED, which is trying to grow that sector. VonLehman, one of Greater Cincinnati's largest accounting firms, will occupy approximately 31,000 square feet; the remaining will be available for lease.
The move comes as VonLehman is growing its business. The company announced in early September that it had moved up 20 positions in an annual ranking of the nation's top accounting firms list, considered a benchmarking gold standard within the industry. This marks the company’s 70th year. Construction on the new office building should be complete in December.