October 7, 2009

New book distribution facility will bring 26 new jobs

Jerry Bloom and Mayor John Dickert with rendering of new facility


Racine took another small bite out of its 16.2% unemployment rate today, with the announcement of a new book distribution facility that will add at least 26 jobs to the city's workforce.

Jerry Bloom, president of Treasures Media, which operates a Christian book store and distribution facility now located in 50,000 sq. ft. of rented space on Durand Avenue in the Badger Plaza strip mall, first came before the Redevelopment Authority this afternoon, and then -- after getting unanimous approval there -- before a press conference in the mayor's office to show off plans for an 80,000 sq. ft. facility to be built in the Southside Industrial Park, the former Jacobsen-Textron property.

Treasures is the largest discount Christian book dealer in the country, according to Bloom, selling "hundreds of thousands of books per month" to wholesalers, retailers and online to consumers. The company has about 26 employees -- Bloom said it is growing so fast he can't keep track of the exact number -- but expects to double that in three years.

The distribution warehouse will be built with "green" technology -- perhaps with solar panels for electricity -- and the expectation that it may expand to 130,00 sq. ft. or more in years to come.

It will be located on 5.4 acres in the northern portion of the industrial park, along Memorial Drive. Although the city "normally" charges $35,000 an acre for such space, according to City Development Director Brian O'Connell, in this instance the land is being given free to Treasures -- one-tenth of the "forgivable mortgage" being forgiven for each year of the ten-year term -- and the company will only have access to as much space is needed now for the first phase.

Mayor John Dickert explained that the city would still earn "incremental" money, through taxes on the new building, and would have complete "clawback" provisions if the company did not live up to its side of the bargain by producing and maintaining the number of new jobs specified.

Bloom said the jobs would pay anywhere from $8 up. "The sky's the limit," he said. Under the agreement with the city, O'Connell said, Treasures "will give preference to Racine residents when filling positions." The jobs fit well with the "blue collar skill set where we have the highest unemployment."

At the press conference -- with almost enough Aldermen present for a quorum -- Dickert said the city is "breaking the cycle. This is a great day for Racine," he said, also noting the 28 new jobs announced last week when A&E said it would consolidate its Texas operations here.

"People tell us every day, where are the jobs, where are the jobs?" Dickert said. "Well, the jobs are coming."

County Executive Bill McReynolds said, "Having a project so close to the area of high unemployment in the city is great news."

Bloom, who bought a small retail store in Kenosha in 2002 before expanding and moving to Racine, right, almost four years ago, said "We're bringing hope to the city." Noting his company's rapid growth -- 40% per year -- he said, "The only thing holding us back is space." He hopes to break ground on the new warehouse in March, and complete it by October. Construction will be by Bukacek Construction Inc., and is expected to cost $3- to $4 million.

The company has a Manhattan sales office, and both retail and wholesale websites. It is expected to keep its retail store open at 4103 Durand Avenue, adjacent to the new AJ Wright clothing store.

Wide selection is evident at the current Treasures store

40 comments:

  1. Welcome to Racine. May God bless your new home! Where can one get an application for employment?

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  2. Oh wow! We are saved.

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  3. 26 is a start. $8. is close to min wage and I did not see anything about benefits but its a start.

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  4. This is great and positive news for our community. Good job to all involved. Let's keep working to bring more jobs to our area.

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  5. Amen! I pray that the company may pay its employees a living wage.

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  6. $8 is not a living wage,Wal-Mart might not be the only company who's workers can get paid and Quest at the same time.
    Does anyone want to bet if we will see a campaign donation?

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  7. I have read nah sayers on another blog complain about $8 an hour jobs. Is it ok for a Christian Book store to pay $8 but not a Gas Station. Mrs. Glass, were are your comments on this one. Just like liberals whats good for one isn't good for all!

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  8. Dickert doing what he does best; getting his picture taken!!!!

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  9. Wondering the same things many have commented on -- will benefits be provided for these workers. Do those who currently work for Treasures have benefits?
    Those who work in the construction trades will be helped by a project such as this. Hope the plans move forward and this project comes to pass. Hope that other business ventures will look into locating here.

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  10. Nice picture of our City Development guy.

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  11. When is a factory with 1,200 jobs plus wages & benefits coming to Racine Mr. Mayor? 10 jobs here and 20 jobs there isn't cutting it. You're not keeping your campaign promises very well.

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  12. "When is a factory with 1,200 jobs plus wages & benefits coming to Racine Mr. Mayor?"

    It isn't. Get used to that fact.

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  13. 7:06

    Your right. Hoping that the City would try at least for living wage jobs. Looks like all kinds of min wage jobs coming to West Racine. Yes Racine WI where a benefit of a full timer job can be a Quest Card!

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  14. Read the fine print.....this is an existing company who is "hoping" to add 26 jobs in the next 3 years! In the mean time the taxpayers are subsidizing them with "free" land! Don't hold your breath on this one!

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  15. 7:06 - never. Those days are over, especially with the union mentality of this city.

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  16. It's a starting wage, folks. $8.00 per hour is a great option for someone who is a full time student and needs a part time job. There are people make over double that wage within the company.

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  17. 8:43

    Right! Sure of it. Tons and tons sure. Can you tell us one about the three bears?

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  18. The economy is made up of mainly small employers. This is another sign that the stimulus and Tarp package targeted the wrong businesses. The concept of getting at 1200 person employer just isn't going to happen. The best we can hope for is more small companies starting, moving or growing here.

    This type of development planning is what will be needed in the future.

    The reality is no big angel is going to fall from the sky, but if we are luck a bunch of small ones will drift in soon. Let's celebrate them as they come and not worry about who gets his or her picture in the paper.

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  19. 11:28 - well put. There are so many naysayers out here.

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  20. Jim's People10/08/2009 11:41 AM

    God Bless Mr. Bloom. He is a example of how Jesus blesses you when you live your life thru the Lord. I hope all of these trash people in Racine don't stop him from expanding further within our ailing comunity. May the Lord bless Jerry with much successess. If all of our city officials made decision to increase employment in Racine by promoting Christian businesses like this, all of our unemployment issues would be solved. God Bless Mayor Dickert for doing the Lord's work here on earth.

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  21. Jim's People10/08/2009 11:51 AM

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  22. Small business is the backbone of America. Don't let the negativity of these bloggers represent all of Racine. There are more good people than the nasty comments lead you to believe. The positive people read the articles and go on to the next article without reading the comments because they are a downer.

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  26. Good job city leaders and Treasure Books on working together on growth for many peoples' future. Congratulations and God Bless everyone, expecially the small business guy willing to take the risk. I would rather have a dozen small businesses than one huge corporation who employs the whole town.

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  27. A company is PROJECTED to POTENTIALLY bring in approx. 9 minimum wage jobs a year, over the next three years? Whoa...and all this excitement? Wow...I guess it's a sign of the times. I say create the 26 jobs FIRST, then start the praises (no pun intended) anyhow, good luck to them and thanks for choosing Racine!

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  28. Think the city be out lots of $$ before one person is given a Min wage job with no benefits. The Mayor calls himself a Democrat and all about good jobs at good pay. Not seeing this here.
    What I see is a poor try to fluff up 2 years in office where nothing was done.
    For a man who likes to say he is just a phone call away from Obama MAKE THE CALL ALL READY

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  29. Jim's People10/08/2009 6:28 PM

    Maybe if you would read some of the books that this man sells(one in particular). You would see that men like him are good for Racine, not the rapid multipliction of certain types of people that are taking over Racine like rabid rats that are in heat. God bless him and make sure to patranize his stores.

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  30. This was just another oppertunity for our mayor to get his picture taken!

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  31. Smile for the camera John?

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  32. jcdiedforoursins10/08/2009 7:42 PM

    That's a really nice photo of a couple of good Christian men. There is a couple of things the men of Racine could learn from these fine young men.

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  33. Jimbo - I don't mind people like him - but don't push this religious crap on others. Last time I heard this is a free country and people can make their own choices without preachers like you.

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  34. Pete and Dustin - when are you going to delete Jim's comment about naked girls. This is slanderous and horrible to Tom T. Apparently you are trying to derail Tom's development also.

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  36. Jim are you into men?

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  37. I am an employee at Treasures and I am truely blessed to be there. I work in the most possitive envirement, and am looking forward to the many benifits that the future will bring. I thank God every day for bringing me to Treasures.

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  38. Are they hiring?

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  39. He should be treated no different than other criminals in Racine - such as the Raider's players.

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  40. Has anyone at the county bothered to look at just who Mr. Bloom is; his background, prior criminal record, etc.?

    http://journaltimes.com/news/local/article_29262c04-b536-11de-bece-001cc4c03286.html?print=1

    What the above article omits is that Bloom was affiliated with neo-nazis and white supremicists in the Racine & Kenosha area and was an ardent skinhead. His house was locally referred to as "the red zone" back in the late 80's and was a popular venue for skinhead parties. The church that was shot at was a predominantly black congregation and his crime was seen to be racially motivated and was reported as such in the local media, at the time.

    This is not saying that reform isn't possible or that former criminals should be denied opportunities to better themselves after repaying their debt to society, but some crimes are more eggregious than others.

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