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Neutex Lighting returns to Houston

commercial led light bulbs
In 2009, just three years after Neutex Lighting moved its manufacturing operation from Houston to Shanghai, China, it became apparent that the cost of doing business had increased and it no longer made economic sense to stay there, said CEO John Higgins. Neutex Lighting is a division ofHouston-based Neutex Advanced Energy Group, whose specialties include logging, land management and planning. Not only did Neutex Lighting, a manufacturer of LED light bulbs and fixtures, find that it was paying more for shipping and insurance in China, but it sometimes had to shell out a minimum of $1,500 for unannounced contraband searches of individual shipments. “We started putting the numbers together and realized that we were creating a middle class in China while killing the middle class in the U.S.,” Higgins said. When planning its return, however, Houston was not No. 1 on the list. “We had a few communities offering some good incentives,” he said, including College Station; Atlanta; Johnstown, Pa.; and Pontiac, Mich. When the executive team listed its needs, such as railway and shipping port access, convenient major highway arteries, an ample pool of skilled and unskilled labor and a city that would stand behind the company, Houston surfaced as their obvious choice, he said. “But when we decided that Houston fit the bill for everything we wanted in international trade, we didn’t even ask for an incentive,” he said. Late last year, Neutex acquired a 45,000-square-foot building on six acres at 15700 Vickery Drive, and is about a month away from resuming manufacturing. “Right now, we’re in the process of hiring 20 workers, and in the next 60 days we’ll be at 75,” he said. -Written by Connie Lewis, Reporter – Houston Business Journal

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