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- 2013 - May - 21st -

Jacksonville-based Body Central CEO: Lessons from the bottom line

by Karen Brune Mathis, Managing Editor

Any organization that wants to remain competitive might be interested in at least seven of the directions that Brian Woolf, CEO of Jacksonville-based Body Central Corp., pledged to take.

The fashion retailer markets to culturally diverse women in their late teens and 20s.

Woolf was hired three months ago to reset the chain's strategy and execution after a sharp 8.1 percent decline in comparable-store sales, a key performance indicator because it measures stores that have been open at least a year.

At the company's annual meeting Wednesday, Woolf outlined several steps he plans to take to continue the improvements.

They relate to every organization.

Among them:

• Talent. Woolf said Body Central has overhauled its management team and he said Wednesday that the company was reviewing at all levels for an "upgrade in talent."

Lesson: Organizations that identify talent needs and build teams based on the needed skills are better equipped to compete and succeed.

• Information systems. Woolf said Body Central is pursuing "major systems advancement." Information technology is a driver of most competitive industries and, as Woolf said, "information is power."

Lesson: Organizations that stay current with technology generally have a better chance to stay current, if not ahead of, the competition.

• Measure results. Woolf said Body Central was forming a weekly and monthly formal meeting structure "to measure results."

Lesson: While some organizations might not take the path of meetings, they still can identify and develop methods to measure progress and results.

• Customer knowledge. Woolf said Body Central would launch a customer survey to determine who the customer is, how she has changed and how best to serve her. "Do we really know, in-depth, our customer?" he asked.

Lesson: Organizations benefit when they know their customer base and how best to meet its needs.

• Trend forward. Woolf said Body Central opened a New York office and will send executives to London and Paris to "know what's happening" with fashion trends. "We were slow in fashion," he said.

Lesson: Organizations perform better when they anticipate and understand industry trends.

• Prototype. Woolf said Body Central would develop a new store prototype. He said the "stores are old and tired."

Lesson: Organizations that continue on the path of a "that's-the-way-we've-always-done-it" will veer off, clearing the way for competitors who invest the time, talent, resources and energy to move ahead.

• Expansion. Woolf said Body Central would pursue expansion opportunities in untapped markets.

Lesson: Organizations that identify and examine expansion opportunities and pursue those that make sense after due diligence often are more successful than those that dismiss opportunities without even considering the feasibility.

Woolf said Body Central was a "company in transition," which, in reality, defines every organization.

Corys Thunder build-out approved

The City approved renovations for Corys Thunder Inc., which makes training simulators for nuclear power plants, at the Jacksonville International Tradeport.

As reported in March, the address will be the new North Jacksonville headquarters for Corys Thunder, which is relocating from St. Marys, Ga. City Council approved incentives for the project.

The Angelo Group is the contractor for the $466,000 project to renovate 24,890 square feet of space at 1351 Tradeport Drive. The property ownership is 1351 Tradeport Center LLC. Dasher Hurst Architecture is the designer of the project.

The project includes 16,040 square feet of office space and 8,272 square feet of storage. Plans show staff offices; engineering; transportation; a power office; a kitchen; a gym area; conference room and guest office. A simulator room is shown as well.

Corys Thunder requested $297,500 in City and state incentives to relocate and expand its operations to North Jacksonville. The deal is expected to create 35 jobs at an average salary of $107,133. Of the jobs, 31 will relocate from St. Marys and four will be new.

Jacksonville International Tradeport is part of the Jacksonville International Airport Community Redevelopment Area.

In the incentives request, Corys Thunder proposed to invest $450,000, comprising $400,000 in leasehold improvements and $50,000 in machinery and equipment.

The company requested incentives under the Qualified Target Industry Refund program, including a High Impact Sector Bonus, of $245,000. The City's portion is a maximum of $49,000, or 20 percent, with the state paying the remaining $196,000, or 80 percent.

The additional $52,500 comes from the state as part of a Quick Response Training grant, according to the project summary.

The company is a subsidiary of Corys T.E.S.S. in Grenoble, France, which is the largest simulator company in Europe, according to its corysthunder.com website.

According to documents, Corys Thunder was founded in 2008 to provide engineering services and products to the simulation industry and its technology is the most widely used nuclear power plant training simulators in the U.S. and Europe.

A'Gaci taking shape at The Avenues

The City approved tenant build-out for A'Gaci in The Avenues at 10300 Southside Blvd., No. 107A.

North Point Contractors Inc. is the contractor for the $804,833 project.

As reported in March, the build-out is for A'Gaci, and an O'Shoes site within it. The permit application and plans showed build-out for the 10,730-square-foot space near JCPenney.

Plans show 9,678 square feet of sales area and 1,052 square feet of storage.

A'Gaci LLC is based in San Antonio. WestEast Design Group of San Antonio is the project manager and the architect is Jimmy L. Powers of San Antonio.

The Agacistore.com site calls A'Gaci "the one-stop shop spot for today's modern, trendy, glamour girl."

It says its "racy, femme fatale styles come in great quality and unbelievable prices."

It was founded by two brothers in 1972.

The site shows it has more than 40 stores in eight states.

kmathis@baileypub.com

@MathisKb

(904) 356-2466

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