Journal Inquirer

March 30, 2016
MANCHESTER — Gov. Dannel P. Malloy announced plans Tuesday for a state-subsidized expansion of the Tolland Turnpike corporate headquarters of Bob’s Discount Furniture, creating 125 new jobs over the next five years.
The expansion includes building a new 103,000-square-foot facility adjacent to the retailer’s existing 90,000-square-foot building.
The state Department of Economic and Community Development will provide a 10-year, low-interest loan worth $7 million, in addition to a $1.7 million grant for job training.
Bob’s, acquired in 2014 by Boston-based Bain Capital, is eligible for up to $11 million in tax credits if it fulfills its obligations through the state’s Urban and Industrial Sites Reinvestment Tax Credit Program.
Plans outlined Tuesday include consolidating management and administrative functions within the company’s Manchester’s corporate campus.
Malloy called Bob’s a great success story, proving that small business owners can grow and thrive in Connecticut.
“Our partnerships with Bob’s means we have one of our most recognized corporate headquarters here for the long term,” Malloy said. “Bob’s is committed to Connecticut, and Connecticut is committed to Bob’s.”
State Sen. Stephen T. Cassano, D-Manchester, brought the governor’s office and the DECD together after Bob’s representatives approached him in February about the company’s need to expand.
An agreement was struck after 11 days of negotiations between the parties, helping preserve and redevelop one of the state’s essential businesses, he said.
“They came together as one in a way that you probably can’t imagine to bring about this project,” Cassano, a former Manchester mayor, said. “These long-term, permanent jobs are great for Manchester, the region, and for Connecticut.”
The agreement is not only good for the town and the state, says CEO Michael Skirvin, but especially great for the employees in Connecticut who don’t have to relocate.
Bob’s new CEO, Mike Skirvin, suggested that the company might have looked elsewhere if the Manchester deal hadn’t come together.
“With our growth we are reaching a point where we really need to have a little more room,” said Skirvin, a former executive with retail giant TJX Cos. who joined Bob’s as president five years ago. “By allowing us to add on to the property to build this building, it will give us another 25 years plus of time in the town of Manchester.”
Bob Kaufman started the business in Manchester, building the first showroom in Newington in 1991.
Now serving as the company’s spokesman, Kaufman has seen the company’s stores grow across 12 states with 69 facilities employing over 3,000 people in Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, and Midwest states.
Kaufman said he was excited watching the company’s expansion happening where it all started.
“I’m overwhelmed with emotion because it really was a dream 25 years ago,” Kaufman said.
In addition to providing economic growth, Bob’s has donated over $2 million to Connecticut charities through sponsorships and charitable contributions.
Manchester Mayor Jay Moran expressed admiration for local community members in supporting the growth of Bob’s headquarters.
“This furniture store represents who we are — the middle class here in Manchester,” Moran said. “We have to thank our local delegation and the people of Manchester who have come forward to support this initiative.”