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Jax Daily Record Thursday, Oct. 7, 202104:50 AM EST

Natural Life Collections leasing at Freebird Commerce Center

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The Ponte Vedra Beach online company will move its warehouse to the 117,890-square-foot Building 200 in North Jacksonville.

Natural Life Collections Inc. expects to triple the size of its warehouse functions in a move to Freebird Commerce Center in North Jacksonville, where it will lease the 117,890-square-foot Building 200.

Natural Life is a Ponte Vedra Beach-based lifestyle brand for clothing, accessories, home décor and gifts. It operates online at naturallife.com. 

Natural Life describes itself as making gifts, clothes and accessories “with a free-spirit style and a positive vibe” for women and girls.

The city issued a permit Oct. 5 for Emerald C’s Development Inc. to build-out space at the 13225 Vantage Way, Building 200, warehouse at a cost of $566,123.

Plans show 113,747 square feet of warehouse space, 2,059 square feet of office space and 2,084 square feet of lounge space.

Natural Life Collections is a Ponte Vedra Beach-based lifestyle brand founded in 1995. It closed its retail store in 2020 and is online-only.

Real estate representative Bob Hillis of Atlantic Beach-based Hillis Properties represents Natural Life. 

He said Natural Life has 95 warehouse employees that will increase to 115, and probably 150 during the holidays.

Hillis said Natural Life outgrew its current 40,000-square-foot warehouse space in Westside Industrial Park, where it has been leasing for five years.

“Since COVID hit, everyone seems to be doing a lot more online purchasing,” Hillis said.

Natural Life is doing more business-to-consumer work, “and they are running out of distribution space.”

Hillis said work starts on the warehouse the beginning of October. Because of the holiday season, Natural Life does not expect to be fully operational at Freebird Commerce Center until the second quarter of 2022.

Freebird Commerce Center is represented by Cushman & Wakefield of Florida LLC and Senior Director Jacob Horsley and Managing Director Tyler Newman.

Natural Life Collections Inc. CEO Patricia Hughes founded the clothing and accessories store in Ponte Vedra Beach in 1995.

Natural Life Collections CEO Patricia Hughes.

The company leases space in Ponte Vedra Beach for its corporate office in The Veranda at 820 Florida A1A N. It employs about 65 people there, Hillis said.

NLPV LLC, led by Hughes, paid $3 million Jan. 8 for the former Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Inc. building on an acre at 510 Florida A1A N. in Ponte Vedra Beach. 

While the company considered converting it for corporate and creative studio space, Hillis said it is for sale.

A Hillis Properties sales brochure lists the 10,317-square-foot building, developed in 1994, for sale at $3.7 million.

Natural Life closed its flagship store at St. Johns Town Center in 2020 at the end of the lease.

Hughes said in February 2020 that the wholesale end of the company, which sells its products to more than 10,000 retailers, is about 60% of its business.

Those companies include Hallmark Cards and francesca’s, a women’s boutique clothing chain.

At the time, direct-to-consumer sales, which comprise online and in-store sales, were about 40% of the company’s business.

As more retailers go out of business and more people shop online, Hughes said she expected growth.

That was a month before the pandemic shutdowns, which led to more online consumer sales nationwide.

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