Largo Karaoke Conglomerate Sings Praises Of Pinellas Economic Programs

What happens when your growth outruns capacity, and a conventional bank just won't do? Turn to the government.

Largo karaoke conglomerate JS Karaoke (JSK), named for owner entrepreneur Jack Stauser, did just that, and is now tracking $30 million to $40 million sales and a 60 percent share of the mass merchant market.

"We had actually never sought out public assistance before," explains Ron Crawley, JSK's project management coordinator. "But with our growth, we had to do something. If we hadn't sought it out, we would not be where we are."

The company, which manufactures karaoke equipment for Emerson and owns international subsidiary IXT, was located in Pinellas Park. Needing to expand its manufacturing space due to an anticipated explosion in dot-com business, the company needed to expand into bigger digs than its existing 16,000-square-feet Pinellas Park facility provided.

After reaching out to Pinellas County Economic Development (PCED), JSK received assistance through not just one, but a multitude of services. JSK received a $250,000 loan through the PCED's Economic Gardening program to finance its expansion and equipment needs, then was directed to Worknet Pinellas's LEAPS program to help staff its growth. The PCED then put JSK in touch with the right people at the city of Largo to find its current location at 1185 Gooden Crossing. The new Largo facility is 56,000 square feet and outfitted with equipment that streamlines JSK's production-line process.

Crawley advises other companies, especially young startups, to investigate what the government has to offer.

"Government programs are a great way to start a new business, says Crawley. "People will never give you money for an idea. But they will give you money for a plan."

Writer: Missy Kavanaugh
Source: Ron Crawley, JS Karaoke
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