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Inmar Considering Expansion in Winston-Salem With 212 High-end Jobs | News

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Inmar Considering Expansion in Winston-Salem With 212 High-end Jobs
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Inmar Inc. said today it is considering a $62 million corporate infrastructure expansion in Winston-Salem that would create 212 high-paying jobs and retain 761 jobs.

The company is requesting approval for at least $1.05 million in performance-based incentives from the Forsyth County Board of Commissioners, according to a legal filing today by the county.

A hearing on the incentives will be held at 6 p.m. Feb. 13 in the county government building, 201 N. Chestnut St.

David Mounts, Inmar's chief executive, could not be reached for comment on the company's expansion.

"Inmar's site assessment for its Winston-Salem headquarters is on-going," said Sharon Joyner-Payne, the company's vice president of communications.

"We continue to evaluate location alternatives in an effort to optimize our ability to support our growing business operations. We anticpate an announcement of our assessment in the near future."

Gayle Anderson, president and chief executive of the Winston-Salem Chamber of Commerce, said the city and state are considering incentive offers. She said she could not disclose their offers. The chamber typically handles local business expansion projects.

There also could be the possibility of the state providing funding for employee training through local community colleges.

Typically, to qualify for state incentives as an existing North Carolina business, a company must be considering moving its headquarters out of state.

"They are very serious about considering out-of-state locations," Anderson said. "We can't comment on where they may be."

Dan Gerlach, president of the state's Golden LEAF Foundation, said the group is not working on any economic development projects in the Winston-Salem area.

Just with the county's incentive offer, it is one of the largest non-industrial park incentive requests by a current Winston-Salem or Forsyth County business in the 22 years of the economic-incentive era.

The largest was the combined $5 million that the city and county provided to Wachovia Corp. to assist with the construction of its then-headquarters building – the Wachovia Center – in 1994.

According to the filing, the company wants to expand its corporate headquarters by moving it to another, undisclosed building where it would operate on a lease of at least 10 years. It is currently based at 2601 Pilgrim Ct.

The county incentives would be provided over seven years.

Inmar said it would commit to buying at least $24.5 million in new equipment and spend at least $37.5 million on other capital investments.

The average wage for the new jobs would be $72,783.

"This project hits the mark for all the things you would look for with an expanding local business," Anderson said.

"It is a corporate headquarters expansion, with new high-paying, high-tech jobs, for a successful global company with Winston-Salem roots. It has a business plan that gives it the potential for substantial growth in the short and long terms."

Inmar, founded in 1980 as a coupon company, has more than 1,400 customers.

Mounts said in a Jan. 29 article in the Winston-Salem Journal that the company "had our highest sales booking (ever) in the company last year."

In that article, Mounts spoke about some of its growing pains.

Inmar, which has 4,500 employees in North America, recently started running out of space at its headquarters.

The company just added 120 employees at its two-building campus on Pilgrim Court, bringing its total workforce in the city to 800. The company said recently it was struggling to find enough qualified employees in information technology, accounting, customer service and operations.

Three weeks ago, the company moved 100 of those employees to a new location at 3334 Healy Drive. By the end of next month, 200 people will be at the Healy Drive location, Inmar has said.

Inmar has grown into a technology company, connecting its customers through its consulting services, software services and various operations. Specifically, the company focuses on three areas:

Promotion network: the design, delivery, execution and analysis of promotional vehicles, including coupons, rebates, sweepstakes, fulfillment and digital promotions.

Supply chain network: management of the physical, financial, remarketing and information flows of returned goods and recalls.

Pharmaceutical services network: financial management of third-party pharmacy receivables, reconciliation, promotions and returned goods for manufacturers, retailers, wholesalers and pharmacies.

Inmar's customers include Academy Sports, ADT security, Harris Teeter, Lowe's home improvement and Spartan Foods.

Mounts declined to give detailed financial information, but said, "We are very busy on-boarding lots of new customers. We have a very strong pipeline of new sales for this year. The potential is that 2012 could be better than 2011, if we execute."

Inmar's products and services focus on improving the quality, efficiency and collaboration of parties, from manufacturers to retailers, via its three networks. The networks move billions of dollars and significant amounts of information and goods among trading partners.

Its supply chain network is focused primarily on returns management for many businesses, including grocery, home improvement, automotive, electronics, pharmaceutical, health and beauty care stores.

"Our network can handle a return for just about any product very efficiently, and we do it in a completely regulatory compliant way," Mounts said.

The company has 30 return-processing centers across the country. The closest one is in a 260,000-square-foot warehouse in Rural Hall, where it has 75 employees.

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