California biomedical firm spending $7M, doubling staff in Springboro

Steve Smith, shipping manager for Hardy Diagnostics, moves inventory in an expanded area of the company’s facilities in Springboro. STAFF/LAWRENCE BUDD

California-based Hardy Diagnostics is completing a $7 million expansion in Springboro in anticipation of nearly doubling its work force within four years.

The expansion, to about 100,000 square feet, nearly doubles the size of the building at the south end corner of Pioneer Boulevard.

Jay Hardy, president and a founder of the employee-owned company, said the company was in part moved to expand here, rather than in Santa Maria, Calif., due to assistance from Warren County and Springboro.

“They were instrumental in helping us to make the decision to grow in Ohio rather than to expand at our existing headquarters in California,” Hardy said, also giving a nod to Ohio’s business laws and regulation

The city has agreed to forgive property taxes on the expansion for 15 years, although the local school district is to share the income tax boost with the city, according to Assistant City Manager Greg Shackelford.

Earlier this month, Shackelford told city council Hardy was expected to add 75 new employees in coming years in exchange for the tax break.

“We are working through this process, ” expected to be approved by council once the expansion is complete, Shackelford said.

At the June 6 council meeting, after a celebration at the company facilities, Councilwoman Janie Ridd said Hardy workers willingly transferred from California, where home prices and the cost of living are higher.

“It was extremely obvious they wanted to be here,” Ridd said.

While confirming the willing transfers, Hardy indicated most of the new employees would be local hires.

“We currently have 90 employees in Springboro. We would expect this to double within about four years. The jobs that will be created will be mainly for the manufacturing, microbiology, biochemistry, engineering, quality assurance, and accounting departments,” he said in an email responding to questions about the expansion.

Our initial investment in Ohio is about $7 million. Most of this will be used to develop and complete our clean-room operations.”

Hardy sells medical devices and “culture media” used to diagnose infections in clean-room facilities designed to prevent contamination.

CFO Darla Prevish said the 2,600 products, produced in Springboro and Calfornia, are “food organisms eat,” enabling medical professionals to identify and treat patients’ strep and other infections.

Distribution is carried out from seven locations across the country in addition to Springboro and Santa Maria, where the company located after being formed in Santa Barbara in 1980.

Ohio operations moved to Springboro from Lima in 2011.

Prevish said the Hardy Family company bought the Pioneer property, which served as city offices during construction of the new city hall, from the city in 2011 and rented space to other companies until last year.

The company’s accounting, as well as distribution and about 30 percent of manufacturing, is already done in Springboro.

The company continues to do the bulk of its business in California.

“Our California headquarters currently employs about 280. However, we have are running out of space in that location. Also, the ‘business unfriendly’ environment and government over-regulation has made it difficult, if not impossible to continue our growth in California,” Hardy said.

In Other News