How and why Lobo Lures Moved to Daytona Beach Florida!
Early on in 2022 Lobo Lures was looking to relocate our manufacturing facility and showroom to a region that was more prone for our successive growth! We began to put feelers out there that we were considering a few regions for our new location. We toured various areas of North Carolina, Georgia, Florida and Hawaii. We also had to take into consideration besides the fact of being a growing company the owners also had a growing family and needed to take all this into consideration. As well as the ability to retain our employees and the regions ability to support a new workforce.
Georgia was a state that we never initially considered but with commercial real estate at a bargain we immediately considered looking into it as a contender. The thing that changed this was the distance needed to travel to get to blue water! We ultimately decided to remove Georgia from the list of contenders.
Hawaii was a big contender as we love the state, the people and what it had to offer the fishing community. What is not to love? Well besides 365 days of fishing the cost of living was significantly higher and the move across an ocean was going to be very complex and costly, if not prohibitive. Besides the cost we looked at the family life and as much as we. would love to raise our family in Hawaii we needed to be realistic. We would be on an island with limited resources, and so we knocked Hawaii off the list!
North Carolina came as a solid contender with its rich history around the great outdoors and its fishing history. At this point Florida and North Carolina were top choices! We looked in areas like Morehead and Wilmington, but we quickly realised that North Carolina was saturated with Lure manufacturers and still experienced winters. The family side of the state was great, but we ultimately decided that North Carolina was a great place to fish and vacation but the business needed other options.
The competition was fierce in Florida with two counties competing to get Lobo Lures to call their county home. It all started with a random call from our long time friend and realtor who handled our family properties in Florida. She asked, "wasn't it time we move to Florida?" At that point, we said what perfect timing we are looking to move the company to a more friendly business area. Within a week we received various calls from different towns and county representatives.
The first call came from Flagler County's economic planning department asking if we would consider moving Lobo Lures to one of Flagler's towns or county owned land. The phone call lead to the owners flying down to Florida to meet with the county! This meeting we learned the benefits of moving to Florida and what not only the county had to offer but what Florida had to offer us! The staggering number of money that fishing & outdoor recreation brings to florida peaked our interest. We left this meeting sure we were going to locate Lobo Lures within the County's limits.
The second call came from Mr. Jackson of the city of Bunnell within Flagler county. This call lead to another in person meeting where Mr. Jackson took us on a tour of the town and what it had to offer. The ability for us to purchase land and build our company headquarters and manufacturing facility within the town limits. This was very high in consideration as the town offered a great workforce but also the support of the town to build to suit which was of highest importance. The main reason we took Bunnell of consideration was the distance from I-95 and the time to build our facility. Build times were up to 24 months and had difficulty finding a contractor who was available. Florida was booming!
The third call came from the city of Daytona Beach. Their city economic planning director reached out and penciled in a meeting. What we thought would be a one on one meeting with the economic director ended up being a meeting with a group of various city heads. This meeting lasted a good few hours. Enlightening us in what was going on in Daytona Beach and how Lobo Lures would fit into that model. We toured the city and thought this could be a good option. We began looking for commercial real estate in the area which proved extremely difficult!
The final call came in June and this time it was from the County! Team Volusia was a county sponsored company responsible for recruiting businesses that met the county's model. They brought us into their office which was simply impressive to say the least. Here we are at the doors of NASCAR headquarters and going up to meet with Team Volusia! The standards were set and this meeting proved to be the game changer! They were prepared to say the least. Upon sitting at the round table with various members, they took the time to introduce us to their company, county goals, what Volusia County had to offer and initiatives available. They were the most prepared, handing us a large folder with properties tailored to our needs. They put us in-touch with a broker who happened to be a fishermen and nailed down a property that was in the file. A property we never seen on Loopnet or realty company websites. Within days we were under contract on the property and 251 Carswell Ave in Daytona Beach!
On August 17th, we took possession of the building and went through the renovations to prepare for Lobo Lures to move in. Let's just say the move has not been the easiest. Initial renovations to the offices were completed within three weeks. The warehouse and manufacturing segments were partially completed in mid September! We shut down the company on the 15th in Connecticut and began packing our first trailer! On September 20th, our first trailer arrived in Daytona Beach! On our drive down we began to monitor a tropical storm heading for Florida! We had little concerns as many in the state did. It wasn't until the day we arrived that we realised the timing could not have been worst. We backed our trailer and truck into the building and went to our home a few exits north of Daytona Beach to wait out the storm.
On the 23rd Hurricane Ian hit the shores of Pine Island! The storm was the strongest hurricane to hit Florida in 30 years! On the 23rd the storm was over us and we knew Daytona was getting hit hard! The following day we took a drive down to the shop, not sure what we would find. The devastation was surreal! Flooding, damaged property and debris was everywhere. Families lives were uprooted! Bridges to the barrier island were closed and many businesses were under water. We were sure Lobo Lures new headquarters was going to be a total loss. To our surprise we come around the corner and three buildings had been high and dry, one being our building. By the grace of God the only damages we sustained were down power line and a large tree down at our entrance.
The Next few days and the months to follow proved to be some of the hardest times in Lobo Lures history. The cleanup was tough but being without power and closed for a period of three weeks was tough! There were points we questioned our decision to move. Finally in mid October we were back up, we opened the business back up. Many of our customers were awesome who ordered product on our website.