1-800 CONTACTS Sees Clear Benefits to Expanding in Utah

Pete CodellaNews

1-800 CONTACTS is delivering on a vision to expand in Utah. Today, along with the Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED) and Economic Development Corporation of Utah (EDCUtah), the company announced an expansion that will bring 654 new jobs to Salt Lake County.

“Businesses demonstrate confidence in Utah when they choose to expand in our State,” Governor Gary R. Herbert said. “That investment is proof of our business-friendly environment, stable regulatory environment, job-ready workforce and eagerness to work with companies who want to grow in Utah.”

The company has entered into an agreement with the state that will bring more than $35 million in new state tax revenue and more than $455 million in new state wages over the lifetime of the agreement. These wages will be at least 125 percent of Salt Lake County’s average annual wage including benefits. 1-800-CONTACTS will invest $59 million in a new facility.

1-800 CONTACTS is the largest seller of contact lenses in the United States. Founded in 1995, 1-800 CONTACTS launched Glasses.com in 2011, extending its mission of offering exceptional customer service to glasses wearers. In 2012, WellPoint, Inc., which is expanding its efforts to build trusted relationships with consumers across the entire company, acquired 1-800 CONTACTS.

“1-800 CONTACTS currently serves more than 3 million customers annually. There are more than 38 million people wearing contact lenses and more than 140 million people wearing glasses in the United States,” said Brian Bethers, president of 1-800 CONTACTS. “Clearly, we are in a very large market, and we see a tremendous growth opportunity for our company. We appreciate this partnership with the Governor’s Office of Economic Development, which will help us continue to grow and deliver our superior level of service and expanding product line to more customers. We have made our home in Utah since our founding and look forward to creating more jobs in our home state.”

“It is gratifying to watch Utah companies become world leaders in their fields, and when partnering with the state has helped make a contribution to their growth and ability to remain in Utah, we know our business support systems are working the way they are intended ,” GOED executive director Spencer Eccles said.

“We are pleased to see an established Utah company like 1-800 CONTACTS expand its corporate headquarters in the State,” said Jeff Edwards, president and CEO of EDCUtah. “This expansion of R & D, manufacturing, fulfillment, technology and customer support functions demonstrates Utah’s quality workforce and diverse business environment.”

The GOED Board of Directors has approved a post-performance Economic Development Tax Increment Financing refundable tax credit (EDTIF) of $8,801,310, or 25 percent of the new state revenue paid by the company over the 15 year life of the agreement.