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Longtime N.J. company may be headed out of state

For Kent, new plant could lead to new spot for its HQ

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Kent International CEO Arnold Kamler was thrilled to announce in January that his Parsippany-based company would soon begin assembling bikes in the U.S. for the first time in more than two decades.

And while that may be a good deal for manufacturing and jobs in this country, it may not prove to be such a good deal for New Jersey.

The assembly will be in South Carolina — and Kamler isn't shy about the reason why. There was an aggressive push from South Carolina, he said, and a big labor cost difference.

“It's really very simple,” he said. “We're going to be investing a lot of money — in excess of $10 million. I would not consider investing that in a state that's not a right-to-work state.”

The family business has been in New Jersey for nearly 100 years. And Kamler admits: “It would be a heck of a lot easier to do where you have your main operations.”

The end result? Those operations may move to the production plant.

Kamler would not say the company, which has annual revenues in excess of $200 million, is leaving New Jersey anytime soon, but that day may come.

“At some point we're going to have relocated our executives,” he said. “We'll need to move a chunk of our people down there.”

E-mail to: tomb@njbiz.com
On Twitter: @tombergeron5

THE BIZ IN BRIEF

NAME: Kent International
LOCATION: Parsippany
CEO: Arnold Kamler
EMPLOYEES: 80 worldwide, 70 in N.J.
HISTORY: The four-generation family business dates back to 1909; it moved to New Jersey in 1947.
REVENUE: More than $200 million annually
ONE MORE THING: Kent builds 3 million bicycles a year, selling them in mass-market retailers such as WalMart and Target. In 2016, it is targeted to assemble a half-million bikes in the U.S., a number it plans to grow moving forward.

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Write to the Editorial Department at editorial@njbiz.com

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Comments


Lori Boxer said:
He's doing what he wants to do with his business and his money. It's called FREEDOM. New Jersey's loss will be South Carolina's gain ... or Texas' ... or Florida's ... or the many other right-to-work states and those states with more favorable regulatory climates for the entrepreneurial spirit, including the no income tax states.

May 24, 2014 6:36 pm

Jc said:
Shame on you. I hope you move to the poverty ridden state of South Carolina. That's where you belong

May 23, 2014 8:03 pm

exgci said:
If your leaving your lying if you say it has anything to do with New Jersey being a state that's not a right-to-work state. Here are the facts:
NJ is growing slower than any other northeastern state and lagging the nation as a whole. NJEA plans to sue to block Christie from balancing his budget mess by cutting pension payments. New Jersey lost 9,300 construction jobs from April of last year to this year, resulting in the highest state decline at 6.8 percent. NJ has $800 million shortfall in the current budget and the over $1 billion shortfall in the budget starting July 1. Chris Christie joined an exclusive club last week - governors who get shellacked with six downgrades of their state's credit rating. Lets not forget about 18 months after the Super-Storm, Hurricane Sandy New Jersey Relief Fund (Christies wife) has yet to file, as required by law, any actual income or expenses with the Charities Division of the NJ Attorney General's office.

May 23, 2014 5:31 pm

DJ said:
This Kamler guy and his family company lie much? Doesn't build any bikes in the US, but has only 10 overseas employees. But the company builds 3 million bikes a year? That means each one of those 10 employees is fabricating more than 800 bikes per day.

May 22, 2014 9:51 pm

maxquadd said:
Move to South Carolina. Paying your workers crap isn't going to do them or New Jersey any good anyway. Since you also don't want to pay income tax, you should, perhaps, think about farming your product out to China and sell them as knock-off on Alababa.

May 22, 2014 4:33 pm

Broker said:
Will be interesting to see how the unions and the "Progressives" in the state legislature spin this. More high paid jobs and citizens leaving the state only increases the tax burden on the productive people and employers that remain.

May 22, 2014 3:50 pm

bill94111 said:
Bye. Don't let the door hit you on the way out. I'm sure your move for cheaper labor will work out just fine for the lining of your pockets. Typical Republican anti-middle class union buster supporter.

May 22, 2014 1:50 pm



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