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Jax Daily Record Tuesday, Jul. 13, 202105:10 AM EST

Cra-Z-Art more than doubling in size in North Jacksonville

The manufacturer of art supplies and toys will boost its space to more than 615,000 square feet in Imeson Park.

Cra-Z-Art is expanding at Imeson Park in North Jacksonville, boosting its presence there to more than 615,000 square feet and adding more than 40 full-time jobs to total at least 125.

“We are growing in the Jacksonville area due to the robust demand from our major retailers to manufacture more toys, art materials and school supplies in the United States,” said Randy Tarino, chief operating officer of Randolph, New Jersey-based LaRose Industries LLC, which does business as Cra-Z-Art.

“The demand is extremely high.”

The city issued a permit July 8 for The Conlan Co. to build-out space for Cra-Z-Art in Building 200 at Imeson Park at a cost of $1.2 million.

Plans show Cra-Z-Art will lease 315,681 square feet of the 552,720-square-foot structure at 10501 Cold Storage Road.

The new location is scheduled to open in November, Tarino said.

The site is next to the 300,000-square-foot Building 300 that Cra-Z-Art has leased since 2019. It employs more than 85 people there.

Cra-Z-Art sells activity, art and school supplies, toys and stationery products. It previously relocated some manufacturing and distribution functions to  Imeson Park Building 300.

The Cra-Z-Art building at Imeson Park.

Tarino said Cra-Z-Art moved into its current location in July 2019. In addition to full-time staff, it hires more than 100 seasonal workers during certain times of the year.

Tarino said the company will manufacture, assemble and distribute stationery, arts and crafts, puzzles and toy products under its brand names of Cra-Z-Art and RoseArt from both of the Jacksonville buildings.

He said the new center also will require seasonal workers.

The city issued a permit Feb. 22 for VanTrust Real Estate LLC to build the shell structure of Building 200, also called Imeson Building B, at a construction cost of almost $16.2 million. The center is under construction.

The project is designed on 27.14 acres next to an Inc. fulfillment center that is under construction.

VanTrust, through JI Imeson Industrial LLC, owns and is developing Imeson Park.

Luke Pope, managing director of the JLL commercial real estate services firm, represented Cra-Z-Art and VanTrust.

As Project Buckeye in 2018, Cra-Z-Art was awarded $689,000 in city and state incentives that comprised a $626,000 Recapture Enhanced Value Grant from the city for the project development and a $63,000 Qualified Target Industry Tax Refund for job creation, of which the city will pay $12,600.

The QTI was tied to Cra-Z-Art’s proposal to hire 21 full-time management and administration employees in Jacksonville by year-end 2021 at an average $53,298 annually that applies only to those employees.

VanTrust Real Estate LLC sold the first Cra-Z-Art building at Imeson Park to The Silverman Group of Basking Ridge, New Jersey. Cra-Z-Art leases the building.

In January, LaRose Industries announced that it bought the Arts, Crafts, Stationery business from Mattel. 

“That started our need for additional space,” Tarino said.

Cra-Z-Art will lease about 315,000 square feet of space in Imeson Park Building 200 for expansion this fall.

The purchase included the RoseArt and Rose Moon brands and the rights to produce and sell all associated products including premium USA Gold and USA Titanium pencils and Scribble Stuff that will anchor the new writing instrument division. 

LaRose said other items include brands such as Fun Dough and Fuzzy Posters. 

The agreement also includes the Rose Moon factory in Lewisburg, Tennessee, which LaRose said is America’s largest pencil factory. 

“The production facility will help LaRose’s goal of significantly increasing production of goods made in the U.S.A,” the news release said.

The acquisition reunited the RoseArt brands with the Rosen family.

The release said RoseArt was founded in 1923 by Isidor Rosen and eventually led by Lawrence Rosen, the third generation of the family.

Mega Bloks bought RoseArt in 2005. Mattel subsequently acquired it.

“After successfully leading the sale of his family’s toy company, Lawrence Rosen found that he couldn’t stay away from the industry he loved, so he started Cra-Z-Art,” the release said.

Cra-Z-Art produces and globally markets such popular toy items as arts and craft kits, Kodak jigsaw puzzles, art supplies, Cra-Z-Loom, Softee Dough, The Real Cotton Candy Maker, Shimmer and Sparkle Girls activity kits, Disney arts and crafts and Nickelodeon Compounds. 

The company opened an international sales office in England to support increased international growth. 

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