London community and business leaders gathered at the edge of town Friday morning to break ground on EliteFTS’ new 30,000-square-foot, $1.5 million headquarters.
The fitness company is receiving a 10-year 60 percent tax abatement on the property, which will amount to about $15,000 in savings annually for EliteFTS.
“When I came into office, one big thing I wanted to focus on was business,” Mayor Pat Closser said.
People assume that means bringing in new businesses — and it does — but it also means taking care of existing businesses, he said.
EliteFTS is a “homegrown, family-oriented, charitable member” of the London community, Closser said.
“When they expressed interest in staying in the community, we said, ‘how can we make that happen?’” recalled David Kell, executive director of the Madison County Chamber of Commerce and the Community Development Corporation.
“It was like a bunch of friends, sitting around a table, trying to figure out what’s best for everyone,” Closser agreed.
Husband and wife duo Dave and Traci Tate founded EliteFTS in a spare bedroom of their Choctaw Lake home in 1998, later moving to South Main Street and then Maple Street. The company is credited with revolutionizing the online fitness industry and serves as a global brand offering free fitness education and products. Last year, sales reached about $8 million.
Currently, the company operates in three different buildings in its “compound” at 138 Maple Street. The office is run out of the grey brick building; the 15,000-square-foot warehouse is a one-minute walk away.
The warehouse is difficult to heat, too small and not always the most convenient or safe, Traci told London council members in February. Expanding into a larger facility will allow the company to grow its 14-member workforce by five within the next three years, increasing local payroll by about $125,000 annually.
The new 30,000-square-foot facility will be built on three acres at 1438 State Route 665. The Tates purchased the acres from Chuck Duvall, owner of DC Engineering and Development. Duvall’s company will also build the structure at a discounted rate, Duvall said previously.
The property butts up against the bike path. The Tates will access their business at the same place Duvall accesses his: a gravel road adjacent to London Baptist Church on State Route 665.
Audrey Ingram can be reached at 740-852-1616, ext. 1615 or via Twitter @Audrey.MP.
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