Explore Bartow’s Many Target Industries
Because manufacturing is so diverse, there are unlimited opportunities for companies to build or expand near Bartow. According to Florida TaxWatch2, “If current trends continue, then the Florida manufacturing sector is projected to directly/indirectly contributed to 1.4 million jobs in 2018; and accounted for $216 billion per year that same year. Also, manufacturing increased annual state output to $424 billion in 2018.”
Polk County is replete with a network of active advanced manufacturing companies. There are more than 440 manufacturers from all sizes of operations. With Polk County’s logistics and distribution advantages, skilled workforce, and history of innovation, advanced manufacturing companies are here to stay.
With Florida Citrus Mutual, UF/IFAS Extension Office, and Department of Citrus all located in Bartow – Bartow is the education hub for agribusiness and agri-technology in Florida providing support in all things agriculture including food flavoring, agriculture equipment manufacturing, food processing, and expanded production of crops.
Crops include blueberries, citrus, and hemp; with some farmers experimenting with producing olives and sod in Polk County. Mosaic provides fertilizer for the crops.
Cattle remains a vibrant business in Florida; with 2500 operational cattle farms that are home to 90,000 head of cattle in Polk County alone.
Access to the facilities is varied and is a true multi-modal hub as the Bartow Executive Airport’s industrial park contains four-lane highway frontage, three active runways, and a railroad spur. The existing inter-modal area consists of approximately 40 acres; approximately 8000 linear feet of rail spurs and has approximately 380,000 square feet of existing warehouse/distribution/shed type facilities. The Airport Master Plan calls for the Inter-modal Center area to be expanded to approximately 70 acres. A 10 to 20-year Long Term Inter-modal Concept was prepared that illustrates the potential development of this Airports Inter-modal Center. It includes rail spur realignments, additional rail spurs and expanded rail spurs. The land adjacent to the rail spurs could facilitate approximately 260,000 square feet of additional warehouse distribution facilities.
The airport offers transportation and distribution opportunities as well as manufacturing sites and manages over 60 buildings, with a variety of tenants including cold storage, water treatment facility, trucking, as well as county and state offices.
According to the latest Florida Department of Transportation Economic Impact study of the Bartow Executive Airport and Industrial Park, the airport and industrial park produced nearly 111.9 million dollars in goods and services in 2018.
Business services refer to the activities that help organizations but do not necessarily result in a physical commodity. This means that the value of each service is intangible. When a company needs to outsource labor that may not fall under its expertise or capability, it relies on business services to provide that labor. Business services allow a company to focus on its specific goals and hire internal employees for that purpose while hiring business service professionals to complete tasks that need special expertise or equipment.
Key talent can be found at companies such as Kelly Services, Labor Solutions, and Spherion Staffing, all Greater Bartow Chamber members. Search the Bartow Chamber directory for business services here. Companies like the non-profit CareerSource Polk oversees state programs dedicated to preparing a skilled workforce.
Florida is one of only seven states that does not have a state income tax. Taking sales, corporate, property, and other state and local taxes into consideration, Florida ranks in the bottom five states in terms of how much it taxes its residents.
According to the Central Florida Development Council, the middle of a state with 122,000 miles of highway, more than 3,000 miles of freight rail, six airports within 60 miles, and two international ports within 90 miles, Polk County is the logical place for logistics, supply chain and distribution companies to locate.
Location is a main reason companies come to Bartow, but other factors also play a role:
- Land is competitively priced – and there’s lots of it.
- Local government values economic development and works well with new businesses coming to Bartow.
- Workforce training is readily available, sometimes at no cost to employers.
And there’s access and infrastructure. Interstate 4 offers easy access to the northern part of the county, as State Road 60 and U.S. Highway 27 do to the south and east, respectively. Port Tampa Bay, an international facility, handles shipping 45 miles to the west, and the CSX Intermodal Logistics Center about 30 minutes southeast in Winter Haven offers rail service. Foreign Trade Zone 79 assists companies along the I-4 corridor to strengthen their international competitiveness in their respective industries.
To complete the picture, there’s access to people. Nearly 20 million people in Florida can be reached within a day, giving companies that locate here an advantage over competitors in the growing e-commerce and delivery markets.
With Fortune 500 companies like Publix, Amazon and Walmart already doing business in Polk County, it’s easy to see why others are following their trail.