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Daytona Buc-ee’s is hiring, walls going up

The walls are going up for the highly anticipated Buc-ee’s gas station/travel convenience center next to the Interstate 95/LPGA Boulevard interchange in Daytona Beach. The 120-fuel pump station is on track to open in the second quarter of 2021 and will be the largest in Florida.

DAYTONA BEACH — A billboard just north of the Interstate 95/LPGA Boulevard interchange proclaims “Beavers at work.” Passing motorists can now see what the fuss is all about.

Workers with general contractor J. Raymond Construction have begun erecting the concrete tilt-up walls for a highly anticipated Buc-ee’s gas station and travel convenience center.

When it opens next spring, it will be the largest gas station in Florida with 120 fuel pumps and a 53,000-square-foot convenience store bigger than most supermarkets.

“We’re looking at a second quarter 2021 opening,” said Jeff Nadalo, general counsel for Buc-ee’s Ltd.

The chain has already begun advertising to fill several management positions for the Daytona Beach location.

Applications are now being accepted on its website for assistant general manager, merchandise/gift manager, food service manager and six other positions.

The annual pay for the assistant general manager position is advertised as being ”$57,000 and up” and includes healthcare benefits, 401(k), and three weeks time off per year.

“Candidates must be able to train in Texas/Alabama for at least six months prior to returning to the Florida location,” the Buc-ee’s jobs posting states. “Career opportunities abound for motivated, high energy and high customer service individuals.”

The general manager position will be filled by an existing Buc-ee’s employee who will transfer here from one of the chain’s other locations, he added.

The Daytona Beach location will employ a total of 200 workers. More than 80% will be full-time, said Nadalo. The majority of those jobs will be filled two to three months before the store opens.

“All employees get three weeks vacation, which is prorated if part time,” he said.

Wages for non-management positions at the Daytona Beach Buc-ee’s have yet to be determined, said Nadalo. “All employees are eligible for 401(k). … Full-time employees are eligible for health insurance,” he said.

Buc-ee’s advertised a pay range of $13 to $17 an hour for employees at its location that opened in Alabama last year.

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Amazon opens ‘last-mile delivery station’ in Daytona

Amazon opens a ‘last-mile delivery station’ in Daytona that creates 100+ jobs and allows the e-commerce giant to offer same-day delivery locally.

DAYTONA BEACH — The highly anticipated Amazon last-mile delivery station here officially opened for business on Wednesday.

A sign next to the entrance to the office of the e-commerce giant’s new distribution facility on Mason Avenue, just east of Interstate 95, greeted new employees with the printed message: “Welcome Amazonians. It’s still day one! Are you ready to make a difference?”

Harland Harrington, operations manager for the 66,000-square-foot facility, declined to answer questions but said, “Yes,” when asked to confirm whether the facility was opening on Wednesday.

Dozens of delivery vans, including several dark blue ones bearing the Seattle-based e-commerce giant’s Amazon Prime logo, could be seen in the complex’s parking lot as well as under the covered loading dock.

Shone Jemmott, a Seattle-based spokeswoman for Amazon, said in an interview earlier this year that the Daytona Beach last-mile delivery station would create “hundreds of job opportunities.”

“Amazon’s new Delivery Station in Daytona Beach is officially open for business,” Jemmott wrote in an email Wednesday night.

Robin King, CEO of CareerSource Flagler Volusia, confirmed that the regional workforce development agency recently began working with two staffing firms to fill more than 100 positions at Amazon’s new Daytona Beach facility.

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Daytona Buc-ee’s to break ground Sept. 16

The wait is over. Buc-ee’s is finally set to break ground in Daytona on Monday. The mega gas station and supermarket-sized convenience store will be the largest in Florida.

DAYTONA BEACH —Turns out, the wait won’t be as long as expected: Buc-ee’s will break ground here Monday for what could be the largest gas station/convenience store in Florida.

A ceremony to mark the start of construction for the planned 120-fueling position gas station and 53,000-square-foot travel convenience center will take place at 10 a.m. on the northeast corner of the Interstate 95/LPGA Boulevard interchange in Daytona Beach.

The announcement comes after Buc-ee’s spokesman Jeff Nadalo acknowledged in an interview in late July that the project might not break ground until the summer of 2021 because of delays in obtaining the necessary permits from the city.

“Sometimes things come in sooner than expected,” said Nadalo in a phone interview Tuesday. “We just got all the necessary permits and approvals.”

The Daytona Beach location will be the first to break ground in Florida for the chain, which also plans to add stores in St. Augustine, in the World Golf Village area, Fort Myers and Ocala.

The 53,000-square-foot Buc-ee’s “travel convenience center” and 120-fueling position gas station is expected to open in early 2021 and will include a car wash as well as room on the 35-acre property for other stores and/or restaurants.

Buc-ee’s first announced its plans to build a store in Daytona Beach in April 2017, saying at the that it expected it to open in 2018 as the chain’s first location outside of Texas.

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Grocery store wars heat up

DAYTONA BEACH — The area’s first Lucky’s Market roared out of the gate in Ormond Beach earlier this month and continues to draw hordes of shoppers more than a week after its grand opening.

“Oh my gosh, it’s been phenomenal. The crowds keep coming,” said Melissa Bradford, store director for the beachside Lucky’s at 101 E. Granada Blvd., on Thursday.

But the upscale Colorado-based grocer is just one of a number of national supermarket chains expanding their presence in the greater Daytona Beach area.

Others include ALDI, the German-based discount grocer that is set to open a new store in Ormond Beach along West Granada Boulevard this fall, as well as Lakeland-based Publix Supermarkets, which is opening a 54,000-square-foot store at New Smyrna Beach Regional Shopping Center on May 23 that will be its largest in the Volusia-Flagler area.

Publix is also set to open a store this fall off of LPGA Boulevard in Daytona Beach, just west of Interstate 95.

The store will become the anchor tenant of a shopping center called Latitude Landings next to the entrance of the fast-growing Jimmy Buffett-themed Latitude Margaritaville 55-and-older community.

Lucky’s is also believed to be considering a second store in the area at the northeast corner of LPGA and Williamson boulevards in Daytona Beach.

And developers have proposed grocery store-anchored projects in both downtown Daytona Beach and Port Orange.

In addition, Sam’s Club is nearing completion of a new membership warehouse store on the southeast quadrant of the Interstate 95/LPGA Boulevard interchange.

The 140,000-square-foot store at Tomoka Town Center, which is set to open in either late July or early August, will replace the existing nearly 30-year-old Sam’s Club store on Beville Road.

The increase in supermarkets here comes amid a growing battle among grocers both locally and nationally that includes e-commerce giant Amazon and Internet home delivery meal kit providers such as Blue Apron and HelloFresh.

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B.Braun eyes further expansion in Daytona Beach

DAYTONA BEACH — German medical products manufacturer B.Braun, which expanded its existing plant and opened a distribution center here last year, is now considering adding more facilities in Daytona Beach, a top executive has confirmed.

In addition, the company, which currently employs just under 140 workers locally, expects to increase its Daytona Beach workforce to at least 300 as it gears up to begin full production next year, said Bruce Heugel, a senior vice president with B.Braun who oversees the company’s U.S. operations.

The plant could potentially grow to as many as 500 workers should more manufacturing facilities be added, he said.

“We’re not done expanding in Daytona Beach,” Heugel said.

The B.Braun executive, in a phone interview on Friday, confirmed that his company intends to develop a portion of the 35 acres it recently acquired immediately east of its Daytona Beach plant at 1845 Mason Ave.

But with wetlands accounting for at least half of that wooded property, Heugel said it has yet to be determined exactly what his company will be able to build there.

“It could be more manufacturing facilities or it could be office space or used as a parking lot,” he said of the portion of the land that is buildable.

Even if the land were used for the latter, Heugel said, any new construction would allow the company to expand its existing plant, possibly by converting the current paved employee parking lot into manufacturing facilities.

Heugel spoke with The News-Journal to clarify an announcement B.Braun made at an event in Washington, D.C., earlier this week.

At the event, CEO Caroll Neubauer announced a $1 billion “Solutions for Life” investment his company was making in “new and enhanced IV therapy manufacturing facilities” in North America.

That investment included a “new state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Daytona Beach,” as well as “modernizations to existing facilities in Irvine, California and Allentown, Pennsylvania,” according to the news release.

Heugel told The News-Journal that the $1 billion has already been spent and includes the $340 million it has already invested in Daytona Beach to date.

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Brown & Brown project making a ‘colossal difference’

The insurance giant’s $40M HQ plan already making an impact by creating jobs, attracting other developers

DAYTONA BEACH — Brown & Brown’s planned 11-story headquarters complex on North Beach Street, which recently began construction, is being hailed by community leaders for ushering in a much-needed renaissance of this city’s struggling downtown.

Daytona Beach Mayor Derrick Henry described the $40 million project as one that is already making a “colossal difference” for the city because of its promise of bringing hundreds of high-paying jobs and by “creating energy and vibrance in the downtown area.”

Brown & Brown CEO J. Powell Brown said his company is “excited that this building will be part of the redevelopment of downtown.”

Noting the fact that the insurance brokerage that has grown to be the sixth-largest in the country, was founded in 1939 just a few blocks away by his grandfather and uncle, Brown told the gathering, “We’ve always been and always will be committed to this community.”

John Albright, the CEO of Consolidated-Tomoka, was one of the more than 300 people who turned out for Brown & Brown’s invitation-only flag-raising event.

“This kind of commitment and investment will do wonders for downtown,” Albright said of Brown & Brown’s project.

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Construction job market red hot in Volusia-Flagler

With the U.S. unemployment rate falling to a new 50-year low of 3.6 percent in April, the number of construction jobs in the Volusia-Flagler area has risen to a new post-recession high.

Builders and subcontractors in the Deltona-Daytona Beach-Ormond Beach metro area added 1,300 jobs in March to boost the number of workers employed in construction to 14,800, according to U.S. Department of Labor data. Figures for April won’t be available until later this month.

The 10 percent increase locally compared to the 13,500 employed in Volusia-Flagler the same month a year ago was the 23rd biggest jump in construction employment in the nation, according to a new report by the Associated General Contractors of America.

The construction employment increase locally is being fueled by a surge in housing starts, new apartments, commercial development and public construction projects.

Building permits for new homes in Volusia County are up 19 percent so far this year, as of March 31, putting the county on pace for its strongest year for new home construction since 2005.

Permits for new homes in Flagler are down nearly 13 percent year-over-year through the first three months, according to the Flagler Home Builders Association.

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Amazon: Daytona facility to create ‘hundreds’ of jobs

DAYTONA BEACH — Amazon officially confirmed plans to open a “delivery station” in Daytona Beach this year that will create “hundreds of job opportunities.”

“The new station will power Amazon’s last-mile delivery capabilities to speed up deliveries for customers in the Daytona Beach area,” Shone Jemmott, a spokeswoman for the Seattle-based Internet retail giant, wrote in an email to The News-Journal.

“The delivery station will create hundreds of job opportunities from full-time associates with comprehensive benefits starting on Day 1 to independent contractors who can … make up to $25 per hour delivering packages on behalf of Amazon,” Jemmott wrote. “We expect the site to open in 2019.”

Amazon has not sought economic incentives from either the city, county or state, according to Kent Sharples, president of the CEO Business Alliance. The group of local business leaders assisted the project’s developer VanTrust Real Estate in quickly securing permits from the city to begin site work.

“They did not ask for any and I am not aware of any incentives being offered,” Sharples said.

The announcement by Amazon comes after weeks of wide-spread speculation that the project recently begun by VanTrust directly behind the Trader Joe’s distribution center was for the eCommerce giant.

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Central Florida to get another Blaze Fast-Fire’d Pizza location, jobs

A Pasadena, California-based pizza chain is opening another location in Central Florida.

Blaze Fast-Fire’d Pizza will open a 2,650-square-foot restaurant on Nov. 19 at 1405 Cornerstone Blvd. in the Tomoka Town Center in Daytona Beach. The restaurant will have seating for 75 indoors and 40 outdoors.

“Daytona Beach’s thriving restaurant scene makes it a perfect fit for Blaze Pizza,” said Blaze Pizza Daytona Beach General manager Dustin Bell in a prepared statement. “Here in Daytona, we expect only the best from our restaurants – and Blaze is ready to impress with clean ingredients, diverse and healthy options, and a welcoming atmosphere.”

The location has brought 65 jobs to the area, including 15 full- and 50 part-time positions. That adds to the 175 jobs the chain’s Disney Springs and Winter Park locations created after opening in July 2016 and April 2017, respectively. Blaze Pizza is known for healthy, artisanal ingredients used on pizzas on an assembly line, with the pizza ready within two to three minutes, and you can choose as many toppings as you want for no additional charge. In addition to pizza, the eateries also serve salads, desserts, beer and wine, as well as soda, tea. lemonade and water.

Louisville, Ky-based Millennial Restaurant Group, the franchisee that operates the Daytona location, also runs 11 other Florida locations including the chain’s three Orlando restaurants. Millennial Restaurant Group also is under lease for three new Tampa locations and one in Fort Myers. The company did not say if there were any future Orlando locations in the works, yet.

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New Daytona retail magnet draws national chains

DAYTONA BEACH — There’s a new shopping mall in town, just in time for the holidays.

Tomoka Town Center is the name of a 235-acre development area along the east side of Interstate 95 in Daytona Beach that became home to the Tanger Outlets mall that opened in November 2016. The 350,000-square-foot outlet mall brought 70 stores as well as a handful of restaurants to the area.

Now a new, even bigger retail complex has opened alongside Tanger: a 400,000-square-foot “power lifestyle” center featuring larger “junior box”-size stores.

In the coming months, the new center, known simply as Tomoka Town Center, is set to add more stores as well as several eateries, including the Volusia-Flagler area’s first Blaze Pizza and Dave & Buster’s restaurant/video arcade.

Stores that have opened so far at the new power lifestyle center include Hobby Lobby, Five Below, Burlington, T.J. Maxx, Ross Dress For Less, DSW Shoes and Tuesday Morning.

The area’s first Academy Sports + Outdoors recreational gear store quietly opened its doors on Monday with plans to hold its grand opening festivities this weekend including product demonstrations, games and giveaways.

“It’s fantastic,” said Port Orange resident Rick Winters last week as he and his wife Brenda were checking out Tomoka Town Center for the first time.

“It’s wonderful and it’s new and refreshing,” he said, noting that the new Hobby Lobby, T.J. Maxx and Burlington stores at Tomoka Town Center are “a whole lot cleaner and more modernized” than their respective now-closed old locations along West International Speedway Boulevard.

Other tenants set to open this fall include Ulta Beauty on Nov. 2, Bealls Outlet and Home Centric in either November or December, and in early December Blaze Pizza, the rapidly growing fast casual restaurant chain, whose investors include NBA star LeBron James.

“Everything is as positive as we could hope for, based on the reports we’ve been getting from the retailers (that have opened so far) and the community,” said Jeff Preston, managing partner of the U.S. operations for North American Development Group, the power lifestyle center’s developer.

North American recently erected a large sign for Tomoka Town Center along I-95, as well as monument signs at each of its various entrances along LPGA, Williamson and Cornerstone boulevards. Each list some of the growing number of tenants at the center.

That tenant list is set to grow even more in the new year, with the anticipated openings of Culver’s, Arby’s, Chipotle, Barnes & Noble, and T-Mobile, along with Dave & Buster’s and Ford’s Garage.

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