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INDIAN LAND – Red Ventures co-founders Ric Elias and Dan Feldstein said attracting, appreciating and taking care of the company’s talent is the secret to its success, and they’re doing exactly that with the company’s new employee amenities building.
Elias’ comments came during a groundbreaking ceremony Thursday, April 11, for the new four-story, 180,000-square-foot building, the third structure on Red Ventures’ 33-acre headquarters complex in Indian Land’s 521 Corporate Center Park.
The building, part of an expansion project that began last year with the purchase of 16 additional acres in the corporate park, is expected to free up space for more than 1,000 new employees at the direct-marketing firm over the next five to seven years.
Elias said it was “surreal” to see the company he and Feldstein envisioned in 2000 while working in a basement succeed even more than planned.
“When you’re young and flying, you hope the crosswinds don’t catch your airplane,” Elias said. “Now we’re the airplane.
“Our culture is strong and our future is brighter than ever before,” he said. “A great company needs great facilities.”
In addition to a food court, yoga studio and a cycling room, the building will have a bowling alley in the basement and a beer garden on the roof, Elias said.
Elias said plans call for an amphitheater and a multi-purpose recreation field as well, both of which will include events open to the public.
The company is also considering other outdoor amenities on the site, such as tennis and beach volleyball courts, Elias said.
Red Ventures’ existing employee amenities are well known and include a full-size indoor basketball court, fitness center, putting green, running track, locker rooms and a gourmet café/bistro operated by the owners of Charlotte’s acclaimed Ilios Noches restaurant.
The company’s amenities and corporate culture have earned Red Ventures accolades several years running, including the No. 1 spot atop the Charlotte Business Journal’s 2010 and 2011 Best Places to Work lists of large companies.
“The reality is we’re trying to build a campus and a community,” Elias said, “a place we can all be excited to come to work at, but also a place where we can continue to attract what ultimately will make us successful, which is more and more of the right level of talent.”
Red Ventures moved to Lancaster County from Charlotte in 2009 with 300 employees and has since grown an average of 40 percent each year, according to Elias.
The company now employees nearly 1,600 employees between its four locations, he said, and plans to hire 400 more in the next four months.
Among the dignitaries participating in Thursday’s groundbreaking were S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley and Lancaster County Council Chairman Larry McCullough.
Haley, who presented the company with a flag to fly over the new building, said Red Ventures’ expansion represents new jobs and a $35 million investment in the state.
“For South Carolina, this is an absolute point of pride,” Haley said. “You are seeing a truly innovative company that is taking true gambles in a time when the economy is shaky – and they’re succeeding.
“On behalf of the state of South Carolina, know that we are very proud of you,” she said.
McCullough, who represents Indian Land’s District 1, said Red Ventures had all the ingredients for a great company from outstanding leadership to a well-trained and talented workforce.
He said the groundbreaking was a sign of the company’s success and its belief in Indian Land.
“According to the teachings of the S.C. Economic Development Institute, ‘It’s a very good day when a world-class company evaluates you and decides to move to your community,’” McCullough said.
“I’m proud to say today is a great day for Red Ventures, a great day for Indian Land and Lancaster County and a great day for South Carolina,” he said.
Company officials said construction for the new building should be complete by April or May of next year.
Contact reporter Reece Murphy at (803) 283-1151