New York toolmaker to start production in Ormond

By Clayton Park
[email protected]

Published: Friday, October 9, 2015 at 3:35 p.m.

ORMOND BEACH — Skyo Industries, a hand-tool manufacturer that is relocating from Long Island, New York, is on track to begin production at its new headquarters/plant at Ormond Beach Airport Business Park on Oct. 19, its CEO says.

"You know what they say about a ham and egg breakfast? We're the ham. The chicken was involved, but we're committed," said Warren Anderson, CEO, who co-owns Skyo with his brother and sister. "I can't wait to get there."

Anderson said he has already moved his 90-year-old mother to an assisted living facility in Ormond Beach and on Friday was scheduled to finalize the sale of his home in New York to relocate here.

His son, Austen, 27, will initially run the Ormond Beach plant while Anderson continues to oversee operations in New York until the entire company can be moved. The company will, for a few months, operate manufacturing plants both in Ormond Beach and in New York to avoid disruptions in filling orders for its customers, he said.

Anderson said his son has already relocated and is currently staying with friends in Palm Coast. Anderson, who said he prefers staying at the Hampton Inn in Ormond Beach near the Interstate 95/Granada Boulevard interchange, said he plans to buy a home in Ormond Beach, possibly on beachside.

Skyo, which sells some products under its own Best Way Tools brand, is primarily a private-label manufacturer whose hand tools such as multiple-head screwdrivers are sold under the brands of its customers, which include Ace Hardware.

The company will initially employ six people here, but will eventually grow to 35 to 40 workers, Anderson said. "We've got to crawl before we walk," he said.

Anderson, whose company paid $2.1 million last year to acquire the former StyleMark building at 2 Sunshine Blvd., said the entire cost of the relocation, including renovation work and installing equipment, will be around $5 million to $6 million.

The company is in line to receive economic incentives to offset some of those costs, from Volusia County and the state as well as the CEO Business Alliance, a group of local business leaders involved in efforts to recruit businesses to the area. Alliance members include International Speedway Corp. CEO Lesa France Kennedy, Brown & Brown Chairman Hyatt Brown and former Daytona Beach Mayor Glenn Ritchey, the CEO of Jon Hall Chevrolet.

Anderson said Hyatt Brown was one of several local leaders who personally reached out to him to offer assistance. Skyo has reciprocated by switching its insurance to Brown & Brown, a national insurance agency based in Daytona Beach, he said.

"Joe Mannarino (Ormond Beach economic development director) was instrumental in introducing me to all the right people, including the CEO alliance and VMA (manufacturers association)," Anderson said, adding that Ormond Beach Mayor Ed Kelley has been extremely helpful as well.

Anderson said executives from several area manufacturers have also extended a warm welcome, including Command Medical Products, Germfree, World Color International, Florida Production Engineering and Hudson Technologies as well as beverage distributor S.R. Perrott. He said World Color, whose plant at 10 Sunshine Blvd. is a neighbor, recently accepted a delivery on Skyo's behalf.

"The VMA is one of the reasons I'm coming down there," Anderson said. "The camaraderie of the manufacturers, we don't have anything like that on Long Island, not for manufacturing."

Anderson said his company intends to become members of the VMA as well as the Ormond Beach Chamber of Commerce. "I like to get involved in the community," he said.

Kent Sharples, president of the CEO Business Alliance, said his group has offered to pay for Skyo's first year of membership in the VMA because "We believe establishing relationships between manufacturers is an important part of integrating into a community."

Jayne Fifer, president and CEO of the VMA, said Skyo's decision to relocate is "a harbinger of things to come. I know the CEO Business Alliance is working hard to recruit companies from the New York area."