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Thursday, February 29, 2024

Gov. DeSantis touts deal bringing massive Dollar Tree distribution center to Ocala commerce park

Gov. Ron DeSantis

Gov. Ron DeSantis offered words of praise Monday after the official announcement that Dollar Tree plans to build a distribution facility in Ocala.

“We sincerely appreciate Dollar Tree’s investment in Marion County,” DeSantis said. “In addition to creating hundreds of jobs, their new distribution center will play an important role in Central Florida’s growing logistics sector.”

Dollar Tree, based in Chesapeake, Virginia, plans to build the 1.7-million-square-foot distribution center on 198 acres at the new Florida Crossroads Commerce Park, located off County Road 484 near Interstate 75. The center will be the largest distribution facility in the county and one of the largest in the Sunshine State since the then-K-Mart center was built in 1990.

Marion County commissioners pulled out all the stops to lure Dollar Tree through a $9.9-million incentive package. The company also was swayed to locate here through workforce programs and cooperation between Marion County Public Schools, Marion Technical College and the College of Central Florida.

The announcement of Dollar Tree’s decision to locate such a massive facility in the local area was made by the Ocala/Marion County Chamber & Economic Partnership (CEP) and the Board of County Commissioners. The facility will service Dollar Tree and Family Dollar discount stores throughout Florida and parts of the Southeast.

“We are pleased to be working with the CEP, Marion County and the State of Florida on this new development,” said Gary Philbin, Dollar Tree’s chief executive officer. “Florida is an important state to us, as we provide millions of customers with convenient and value-driven shopping experiences in our Dollar Tree and Family Dollar stores.”

Philbin added that the new facility should enhance “supply chain efficiencies” while reducing outbound transportation costs to stores – all while creating hundreds of local jobs.

The distribution center will be built in two phases. The first phase will begin immediately and result in the construction of a 500,000-square-foot facility that will employ 200 workers. The second phase will follow with up to 1.2 million square feet of additional space and another 500 jobs. The total project is anticipated to result in a capital investment in excess of $200 million.

Dollar Tree, a Fortune 200 company, has more than 15,000 stores across the United States and Canada. The Ocala mega-site was one of the first recipients of a Florida Job Growth Grant to help fund infrastructure for the commerce park.

Kathy Bryant

“We are excited to have the opportunity to welcome Dollar Tree to Marion County,” said County Commission Chair Kathy Bryant. “We appreciate all of the collaborative efforts of the many entities to see this project through to fruition. Not only will the initial 200 jobs positively change the economic climate of Marion Oaks and surrounding areas, but over time, an additional 500 projected jobs would drastically change the face of southwest Marion County, drawing potential new residents and new businesses for decades to come.”

Jamal Sowell, president & CEO of Enterprise Florida Inc., offered congratulations to Ocala and Marion County for landing the distribution center.

“This is a great way to begin the new year with new opportunities for job creation and great capital investment for Central Florida,” Sowell said.

Dollar Tree stores sell items for $1 or less and at one time were called Only $1.00. The company’s entry into Ocala, which originally was labeled as Project Farmer, follows similar distribution centers operated by FedEx, Chewy and AutoZone. To learn more about Dollar Tree, visit the company’s website at www.dollartree.com.

The Ocala/Marion County Chamber & Economic Partnership is the one-stop hub for the community’s business attraction, creation and retention efforts. Over the past seven years, the Moving Forward plan has impacted the creation of 7,500 new jobs with wages 16 percent above the metro average and resulting in a capital investment of nearly $900 million.

Monday’s announcement represented a partnership between the CEP, Dollar Tree, Marion County, CareerSource CLM, SECO and Enterprise Florida. For more information visit www.OcalaCEP.com.