Traditionally, manufacturing in Glades County has been centered on companies which have their roots in the predominantly agriculture-based economy. The state’s largest fertilizer company, Wedgworth’s Inc., with headquarters in Belle Glade, produces 150,000 tons of fertilizer yearly at the former Florida Favorites Fertilizer Plant in Moore Haven, which the company acquired in 2006.
Central to Wedgworth’s decision to relocate their production facility’s operations to Glades County was the county’s proximity to their existing customer base, the availability of a site with four-lane highway frontage, potable water and rail.
The Glades County site has other advantages. Taxes are lower in Glades County. Permitting rehabilitation of the facility was easier to accomplish. The site, on rail and right on US 27, provided better access to their markets. The company was also able to choose from an available and eager workforce. Other manufacturers have followed suit.
Scotts Miracle Gro acquired Lykes 7L Brands Mulch plant and its trade-marked eucalyptus mulch, doubling their workforce and expanding to include new warehousing for their Miracle Gro line of potting products. Their Palmdale site serves much of southern Florida south of Orlando. In 2014, Quikcrete acquired the just-completed Greencore mortar mixing and bagging plant in Ortona, growing their workforce from 10 to 22 employees in just over a year.
In 2016, Maxant Buttons relocated their aluminum button manufacturing operations to Moore Haven and started production in January 2017. In 2018, Maxant Buttons became Maxant Aluminum Products with the acquisition of Mike’s Aluminum Products and created three more jobs. The company is now Maxtant Metals, where they do custom aluminum work.
Other manufacturers in Glades County include Vulcan Materials, which produces sand for Florida golf courses as well as road and bridge projects; Oldcastle Greenleaf, a leading producer of mulch; and Cemex, which produced the redi-mix for the Port of Miami Tunnel at the Glades County plant. Access to the raw materials from which they manufacture their products and centrality to their customers are making Glades County a hub of manufacturing and distribution in South Florida.
Other big benefits include no sales tax on manufacturing equipment and no personal income tax on the state level, affordable real estate, an aggressive local option tax abatement, and 12 percent overall operating cost savings compared to urban markets. More companies are discovering that Glades County offers major opportunities for their manufacturing and logistics operations to expand or relocate.