Local companies receive keys to the city for accomplishments

By Jessica Breger Staff Writer jbreger@civitasmedia.com

December 17, 2013

The Durant Economic Development Council (DEDC) held a special meeting Friday December 13 to honor two companies in the area for their achievements.

Both Cardinal FG Durant and Durant Big Lots Distribution Center have completed Oklahoma’s 10 year Quality Jobs Program.

This program promotes companies who provide a certain volume of well-paying jobs to a community. Participating in the program allows companies to receive incentives of up to five percent of new taxable payroll directly to the company.

Maintaining a qualifying status is something only 12 percent of the 700 participant to date have been able to accomplish.

Since it began 20 years ago, only 90 companies have completed the entire program. Durant Industrial Authority Director Tommy Kramer said this was a monumental accomplishment for the companies.

Kramer shared the stories of how the companies came to Durant and the struggles they faced in getting started 10 years ago.

He said that at one point he didn’t think the Big Lots Distribution Center would be completed, however through the help of community members and leaders it came together.

“We started from ground zero and look how far we have come,” said Kramer.

Oklahoma Lieutenant Governor Todd Lamb also spoke at the event.

“It’s nothing short of amazing,” said Lamb. He said it was through a team effort that these companies succeeded, calling Durant and Bryan County very special places.

Lamb emphasized that two companies out of only 12 percent to ever complete the program are both located in Durant. He said to make this happen you have to have local support and good local leadership.

Representatives from both companies received an award from the state as well as a key to the city of Durant.

Durant Big Lots Distribution Center is a 1,200 million square foot, climate-controlled facility. It services 215 stores across 16 states.

The Center has created more than 350 jobs in the area, officials said, and Big Lots Corporation has invested more than $73 million in the Durant location.

Cardinal FG Durant has produced more than 1.9 million tons of glass since manufacturing began in 2004. The company currently has a workforce of 250 full time employees and has an annual payroll of $10.5 million.

Other Quality Jobs participants in Durant include Eagle Suspension in its seventh year and new participants Pharmcare and the Tile Shop.