Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

1 Mystery Company Has Been Revealed

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

1 Mystery Company Has Been Revealed

Article excerpt

Byline: Karen Brune Mathis, Times-Union senior business writer

National Grange Mutual Insurance Co. could grow its workforce to more than 100 jobs over the next two years as it relocates part of its corporate headquarters to Jacksonville.

The company is one of the two 100-job mystery companies that have been scouting Jacksonville. Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce economic development vice chairman Michael Huyghue had hinted at National Grange in February but did not identify it.

National Grange, based in Keene, N.H., said Tuesday that would expand its corporate operations into Jacksonville, where it already owns Old Dominion Insurance Co., which has 50 employees.

National Grange president Thomas Van Berkel said in a statement that he and 16 others, including four top executives, would relocate to Jacksonville later this year.

Jerry Mallot, executive vice president of the chamber's Cornerstone economic development program, said yesterday that he expects Grange to grow to more than 100 jobs in Jacksonville over two years.

Mallot said no site has been chosen for that expansion, but the company has time to decide on one. "They have done some preliminary work," he said, adding that it would be a Southside location.

Old Dominion operates in Southside in Baywood Center, at 9428 Baymeadows Road.

Mallot said National Grange also had considered sites in Charlotte, N.C., and in New Hampshire. Its decision was guided by a national site consultant.

He said that Grange would co-locate headquarters functions in Keene and in Jacksonville, which makes it one of the chamber's seven targeted industries. A 1997 targeted industry study included corporate headquarters as one of the industries the city should recruit and expand. That study is being revised, but the updated targets also will focus on headquarters development. …

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