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Gov. Scott touting 240 new jobs to Sebring

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Hot on the heels of an announcement that a Hillsborough County company was expanding operations to create 100 new jobs, Florida Governor Rick Scott’s office announced another 240 jobs are coming to Sebring.

The company, CitraPac, is opening a new manufacturingfacility at the Sebring Airport in a new 37,000 square-foot facility in Sebring Commerce Park.

The project brings $14 million in capital investment to the area.

“We are excited that CitraPac has decided to expand their operations in Highlands County creating 240 new jobs for Florida families,” said Governor Rick Scott. “By creating a business-friendly environment in Florida and continuing to cut taxes, including eliminating the sales tax on manufacturing equipment, we are allowing job creators to create more opportunities. Over the past four years, Florida’s private sector has created more than 879,000 jobs and we won’t stop working until Florida is the best place in the world to get a job and live your dreams.”

CitraPac manufactures real-fruit frozen snacks.

“Florida has been our home for more than 90 years and we are proud to be expanding and adding jobs to our local economy,” said CitraPac president Gregg Harshman. “Florida’s pro-business climate has allowed us to continue our growth and we look forward to being a part of the state’s continued economic resurgence. Thank you to Governor Scott for joining us for today’s announcement and making Florida a great state for businesses to grow.”

Harshma comes from one of the pioneering families who grew citrus in Highlands county in the 1920s. The family sold the business in 2000, but Harshman continued in hopes of keeping the family’s heritage in the area.

One of CitraPac’s products is Fruit Pearls, a product developed by scientists in the Florida Department of Citrus. The unique process used to make the product was licensed to CitraPac.

“‘Fruit Pearls’ is the name of the product—CitraPac uses real oranges and tangerines and flash freezes them into ‘tiny pearls’ and mixes them with beads of fruit purees, fruit juices, and yogurts,” Harshman said. “No preservatives and nothing artificial are used to create this healthy snack for kids. The goal is to have this healthy snack on school lunch trays nationwide.”

The Governor’s office attributes the expansion of jobs to a competitive tax environment and a “superior quality of life.”

“Florida’s manufacturing sector is growing and will continue to prosper thanks to companies like CitraPac and their continued investments in Florida,” said Enterprise CEO Bill Johnson. “We thank them for adding to Florida’s strong manufacturing base of nearly 18,000 manufacturers employing more than 311,000 across the state.”

Enterprise Florida partnered with the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, Highlands County, the City of Sebring and the Sebring Airport Authority.

 “Governor Scott’s manufacturing-friendly policies have resulted in another success story as CitraPac will open a new manufacturing facility that will create 240 jobs in Sebring,” said Florida Department of Economic Opportunity executive director Jesse Panuccio. “Seeing a company like CitraPac, which has been a staple in Florida’s manufacturing industry for so long, continue to thrive is proof that Florida has the perfect climate for business.”

Janelle Irwin has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in the Tampa Bay area since 2003. She also hosts a weekly political talk show on WMNF Community radio. Janelle formerly served as the sole staff reporter for WMNF News and previously covered news for Patch.com and various local neighborhood newsletters. Her work has been featured in the New York Daily News, Free Speech Radio News and Florida Public Radio and she's been interviewed by radio stations across the nation for her coverage of the 2012 Republican National Convention. Janelle is a diehard news junkie who isn't afraid to take on big names in local politics including Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, the dirty business of trash and recycling in St. Pete and the ongoing Pier debacle. Her work as a reporter and radio host has earned her two WMNF awards including News Volunteer of the Year and Public Affairs Volunteer of the Year. Janelle is also the devoted mother to three brilliant and beautiful daughters who are a constant source of inspiration and occasional blogging fodder. To contact, email janelle@floridapolitics.com.

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